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An Overview of Nitrogen Critical Loads for Policy Makers, Stakeholders, and Industries in the United States


Critical load values are calculated to determine ecosystem responses to deposition in a given area; these values may act as a tool to identify sensitive ecosystems in further need of protection. This overview provides an introduction to nitrogen critical loads for policy makers and parties involved in managing nitrogen deposition including electric utility generators, transportation managers and automobile manufacturers, and large-scale agricultural operators in the United States. It examines the use of the critical loads concept in European nations for establishing policy guidelines, current research on nitrogen critical loads in the U.S., and the development of nitrogen critical loads modeling and mapping.

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Fisher, L.S., Mays, P.A. & Wylie, C.L. An Overview of Nitrogen Critical Loads for Policy Makers, Stakeholders, and Industries in the United States. Water Air Soil Pollut 179, 3–18 (2007).

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  • chemical criteria limit
  • critical loads
  • nitrogen deposition
  • simple mass balance