Not just N and P, sulfur in fertilizers also threaten downstream impacts on biodiversity

March 31, 2021

Sometimes, an issue is not entirely solved by a single act of legislation. Such is the case of sulfur emission into the biosphere by human-driven activity.




In the 1960’s and 1970’s, sulfur emissions from the fossil fuels industry causing acid rain led to the Clean Air Act and its subsequent amendments. However, sometimes an initial piece of environmental legislation does not address a problem in its full scope. In a recent study for Nature Geoscience, a group of researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale, and Syracuse University look at how sulfur is increasingly being emitted into the biosphere through use of fertilizers and pesticides. The researchers discuss how these practices have led to deleterious side-effects on farm soil and downstream streams and rivers, and how further inquiry on this issue should involve the scientific community collaborating with farmers to promote improved sustainability in farming practices. 

To read the study, please check out the link below:

A shift in sulfur-cycle manipulation from atmospheric emissions to agricultural additions | Nature Geoscience