Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 97–117

Effect of consumption choices on fluxes of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus through households


    • Water Resources CenterUniversity of Minnesota
  • Paul M. Hartzheim
    • Water Resources Science Graduate ProgramUniversity of Minnesota
  • Sarah E. Hobbie
    • Department of Ecology, Evolution, and BehaviorUniversity of Minnesota
  • Jennifer Y. King
    • Department of Ecology, Evolution, and BehaviorUniversity of Minnesota
    • Department of Soil, Water and ClimateUniversity of Minnesota
  • Kristen C. Nelson
    • Department of Forest Resources and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of Minnesota

DOI: 10.1007/s11252-006-0014-3

Cite this article as:
Baker, L.A., Hartzheim, P.M., Hobbie, S.E. et al. Urban Ecosyst (2007) 10: 97. doi:10.1007/s11252-006-0014-3


Households are an important scale of analysis for human ecosystems because they are a major source of pollutants and could thus be a new focus for pollution management, particularly for education-based source reduction strategies. The household is also a meaningful unit for analysis of human ecosystems, being common to all human cultures. This study develops a Household Flux Calculator (HFC) to compute C, N, and P fluxes for scenarios intended to represent three levels of household consumption: low, typical, and high. All three scenarios were developed for suburban households with two adults and two children in the Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities) metropolitan area, Minnesota. Calculated ratios of fluxes between high and low consumption households were 3.5:1 for C, 2.7:1 for N and 1.4:1 for P. Results suggest a high level of discretionary consumption that could be reduced without a substantial reduction in standard of living. Thus, modest changes in behavior in high consumption households would greatly reduce fluxes of C, N, and P without major changes in lifestyle.


HouseholdHousehold ecosytemLawnFertilizerEmissionsFoodWastewaterFluxCarbonNitrogenPhosphorus

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006