Another reason to Kick the Nitrogen habit

A recent Science News, February 15, 1997, has a story about Nitrogen. According
to a team which reviewed nitrogen's effects in the ecosystem, humans now
introduce more nitrogen into the ecosystem via fertilizers (the largest source),
burning fossil fuels and growing legumes than nature does via lightening and
bacteria.  Besides local pollution and greenhouse creating and ozone destroying
effects, several studies have shown that this added nitrogen tends to diminish
the biological diversity of plants (Science News, 12/7/96, p.356). 

Science News in December 7, 1996, reported on research that showed that
nitrogen (for example from acid rain and agricultural air pollution) applied to
a prairie "dramatically impaired (native grasses) ability to compete against
weeds (such as quack grass) that had immigrated from Europe."  The effect was
likened to the algal blooms that result when aquatic systems are overfed. Worse
yet, when these nitrogen loving plants die, they release the nitrogen they've
stored and it helps release stored carbon in the soils. Less organic matter and
more weeds from air pollution.  

Bill Duesing
Solar Farm Education