Nitrogen losses from annual crops such as maize contribute to excess nitrogen that impairs water quality in the coastal zone, including the Chesapeake Bay. Practices such as replacing maize with perennial crops such as switchgrass, adding winter cover crops, and improving fertilizer management could all improve water quality by reducing nitrogen losses from crop fields that. If paid for, such ecosystem services could increase the financial return to growers while providing important benefits to society. We estimated the benefits, costs, and potential for each of these practices to contribute to required nitrogen loading reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For example, we found that 11% of the basin-wide N loading reduction target could be met while also producing 1.3 Tg of switchgrass that could be used as a bioenergy feedstock.
No recent activity