Nitrogen budgets for the Republic of Korea and the Yellow Sea region


Growing populations in northeast Asia have greatly altered the nitrogencycle, with increases in agricultural production to feed the population, andwith increases in N emissions and transboundary air pollution. For example,during the 1900's over 50% of the N deposition over Republic of Korea wasimported from abroad. In this paper, we present biogeochemical budgets ofN for the South Korean peninsula (the Republic of Korea) and for the YellowSea region. We quantify N inputs from atmospheric deposition, fertilizers,biological fixation, and imports of food, feed, and products. We quantifyoutputs in riverine export, crop uptake, denitrification, volatilization,runoff, sedimentation and sea water exchange. Calculations were conductedusing mean values from 1994–1997. All of the nitrogen budgets werepositive, with N inputs exceeding outputs. The excess N inputs gave rise toincreases in N storage in landfills and in groundwater. Annual accumulationof N in the Yellow sea, including inputs from South Korea and otherdrainage areas, was 1229 kt yr−1 with a residence time for N ofapproximately 1.5 years, thus doubling N content in marine waters every 3years during 1994–1997. The human derived N inputs leads to excessiveeutrophication and pollution of the Yellow Sea.

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Correspondence to V.N. Bashkin.

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Bashkin, V., Park, S., Choi, M. et al. Nitrogen budgets for the Republic of Korea and the Yellow Sea region. Biogeochemistry 57, 387–403 (2002).

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  • anthropogenic loading
  • biogeochemical cycling
  • Korea
  • nitrogen deposition
  • Northeast Asia
  • regional budget