Nitrogen deposition and its ecological impact in China: an overview

Environ Pollut. 2011 Oct;159(10):2251-64. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Nitrogen (N) deposition is an important component in the global N cycle that has induced large impacts on the health and services of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Anthropogenic reactive N (N(r)) emissions to the atmosphere have increased dramatically in China due to rapid agricultural, industrial and urban development. Therefore increasing N deposition in China and its ecological impacts are of great concern since the 1980s. This paper synthesizes the data from various published papers to assess the status of the anthropogenic N(r) emissions and N deposition as well as their impacts on different ecosystems, including empirical critical loads for different ecosystems. Research challenges and policy implications on atmospheric N pollution and deposition are also discussed. China urgently needs to establish national networks for N deposition monitoring and cross-site N addition experiments in grasslands, forests and aquatic ecosystems. Critical loads and modeling tools will be further used in N(r) regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity
  • Biodiversity
  • China
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollution / statistics & numerical data
  • Nitrogen / analysis*
  • Nitrogen / toxicity
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / classification
  • Plants / drug effects


  • Air Pollutants
  • Nitrogen