Ammonia emissions from a broiler farm: spatial variability of airborne concentrations in the vicinity and impact on adjacent woodland
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Agricultural NH3 emissions affect air quality and influence the nitrogen cycle. In the subject study, NH3 emissions from a broiler farm and the resulting atmospheric concentrations in the immediate vicinity during three growing cycles have been quantified. Additionally, vegetation along a transect in an adjacent woodland was analysed. The emissions were as high as 10 kg NH3 h−1 and the atmospheric concentrations ranged between 33 and 124 μg NH3 m−3 per week in the immediate vicinity. Measurements of the atmospheric concentrations over 7 weeks showed a substantial decline of mean concentrations (based on a 3-week average) from ∼13 to <3 μg NH3 m−3, at 45- and 415-m distance from the farm. Vegetation surveys showed that nitrophilous species flourished when they grew closest to the farm (their occurrence sank proportionately with distance). A clearly visible damage of pine trees was observed within 200 m of the farm; this illustrated the significant impact of NH3 emissions from agricultural sources on the sensitive ecosystem.
KeywordsAmmonia Broiler Emission Spatial dispersion patterns Woodland flora
The authors thank the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim for its financial support and providing the contact to the broiler farm. We are grateful to the farmer who encouraged the extensive measurements in and around the broiler farm. We also acknowledge the support of the Eberswalde Forestry Competence Centre (Research Institute of the Public Enterprise Forst Brandenburg) for recording data of the vegetation surveys and taking the measurements with passive samplers along a transect through the woodland. Furthermore, we wish to thank the Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries in Braunschweig for the provision of passive samplers at five monitoring points around the farm with subsequent lab analyses. Special thank goes to Thorsten Hinz and Richard Eisenschmidt.
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