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    Assessment of wet inorganic nitrogen deposition in an oil palm plantation-forest matrix environment in Borneo

    Sellan, Giacomo, Majalap, Noreen, Thompson, Jill, Dise, Nancy B, Field, Chris D, Pappalardo, Salvatore E, Codato, Daniele, Robert, Rolando and Brearley, Francis Q (2023) Assessment of wet inorganic nitrogen deposition in an oil palm plantation-forest matrix environment in Borneo. Atmosphere, 14 (2). 297. ISSN 2073-4433

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    Nitrogen (N) deposition significantly affects forest dynamics, carbon stocks and biodiversity, and numerous assessments of N fluxes and impacts exist in temperate latitudes. In tropical latitudes, however, there are few such assessments. In this study, we measured the inorganic N concentration (wet deposition) deposited in rainfall and rainfall pH throughout one year at the boundary of a forest reserve in Malaysian Borneo. We considered that the N deposition may be either from forest and agricultural fires or derived from agricultural fertiliser. Therefore, we determined the wind trajectories using the HYSPLIT model provided by NOAA, the location of fires throughout the landscape throughout one year using NASA’s FIRM system, and obtained the land use cover map of Malaysia and Indonesia. We then correlated our monthly cumulative wet N deposition with the cumulative number of fires and the cumulative area of oil palm plantation that wind trajectories arriving at our study site passed over before reaching the rainfall sampling site. At 7.45 kg N ha−1 year−1, our study site had the highest annual wet inorganic N deposition recorded for a Malaysian forest environment. The fire season and the cumulative agricultural area crossed by the winds had no significant effect on N deposition, rainfall N concentration, or rainfall pH. We suggest that future research should use 15N isotopes in rainfall to provide further information on the sources of N deposition in tropical forests such as this.

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