Measurement and modeling of N balance between atmosphere and biosphere over a grazed grassland (Bugacpuszta) in Hungary

Attila Machon, László Horváth, Tamás Weidinger, Balázs Grosz, Andrea Móring, Erno Führer

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This work is a synthesis of a 5-year estimation of nitrogen balance at a semi-arid, semi-natural, undisturbed grassland site (Bugac). We measured the N input of atmospheric pollutants by wet and dry deposition of gases and aerosols, while we considered N output as NO and N2O gases volatilized from soil. Besides measurements of soil fluxes, the denitrification-decomposition (DNDC) ecological model was also used and simulations were compared to and validated against the measured values. The daily flux simulations generally did not match well the measured data for N2O and NO. In most cases, the mean fluxes were underestimated, though results of the comparison of monthly values suggest that model data, together with observed deposition data, are applicable to estimate the net N balance for grasslands. The calculated yearly N balance (net flux) between atmosphere and surface, without biological fixation and effect of grazing, ranged between -9.4 and -14 kg N ha-1 year-1 as the sum of the measured deposition and emission terms, -11 to -15 and 0.9 to 2.9 kg N ha-1 year-1, respectively, between 2006 and 2010. Observed and modeled soil emissions were lower by one order of magnitude than atmospheric deposition. Considering the biological nitrogen fixation and the effect of grazing (effects of both grazed plant and excreta), the net nitrogen balance varies within -6.6 and -11 kg N ha-1 year-1. It seems - taking into account the high uncertainty in calculation due to the effect of grazing - that sources of nitrogen exceed the sinks; the surplus is probably mineralized in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015



  • DNDC model
  • Denitrification
  • Deposition
  • Grassland
  • Nitrogen exchange
  • Soil emission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution

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