From: Editor, Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published February 18, 2010 06:35 AM

Overuse of fertilizer in China leads to soil acidification

Overuse of nitrogen fertilisers in China is leading to rapid soil acidification and is causing lasting damage to ecosystems, according to soil study

Nitrogen fertilisers used to increase crop yields in China are having "extreme" environmental consequences, according to a study from leading soil scientists.

Scientists from China, the UK and the United States measured the pH of soil samples taken from agricultural land across China in the 1980s and 2000s and found widespread acidification caused by nitrogen fertilisers.

On average, the pH of soil across the country had decreased by 0.5 in 20 years. In parts of Hunan province, in south China, the pH of the soil had dropped to between 3 and 4.

Most crops are suited to a neutral range between pH 6 and pH 8.

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