Abstract for: Analyzing Soil Nitrogen Management with Dynamic Simulation Experiments

Nitrogen cycle is among the geo-bio-chemical processes which are disrupted by anthropogenic influence on global ecosystems. Modern agriculture heavily depends on nitrogen fixed from the atmosphere and applied on farmlands. The result is an eventual loss of nitrate in soil solution, creating pollution and eutrophication of fresh water systems. There is worldwide evidence indicating that nitrogen fertilizers are overused and nitrogen use efficiencies are dramatically low. Most of the studies addressing the overuse problem either assess the socio-economic factors, or environmental and technological determinants that influence farmersí fertilizer application rates. In this study, we assess the problem of residual nitrogen accumulation on N applied farmlands and its perceptions by simulation modeling and decision experimentation. Although the residual nitrogen problem is very well known by agronomists, it is hardly considered in studies aiming at educating farmersí fertilizer consumption behaviors. We argue that, our analysis is also interesting for the field of system dynamics because it presents a new case for misperceptions of basic dynamics that lead to overexploitation or over-pollution of environmental resources.