Sustainable Nitrogen Management Across Spatial and System Scales

About this Project

Managing Nitrogen (N) is often considered as farmers’ responsibility; however, what is produced in farm and how N fertilizer is managed are also affected by stakeholders beyond farm. Funded by National Science Foundation, this project aims to improve N management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and throughout the country by developing a N management framework that encompasses the complex N dynamics across systems and spatial scales, yet simple enough to guide policies and actions of various stakeholders. This project includes four major deliverables: 1) a hierarchical framework across systems including Cropping system nested within Animal-crop system, which is nested within the Food system, and finally nested within Ecosystem (the CAFE framework); 2) an N budget database according to the CAFE system framework on various spatial scales;  3) a case study for the Chesapeake Bay watershed to implement the CAFE system framework; 4) education and stakeholder engagement programs integrated with the research to improve the project and broaden its impacts.

Stakeholder Engagement Programs of this Project

The stakeholder engagement programs of this project designed for the Chesapeake Bay watershed include surveys of and interviews with hundreds of stakeholders from various backgrounds. These stakeholder engagement activities will be conducted by Dr. Xin Zhang, Dr. Cathlyn (Cat) Davis, Dr. Matthew Houser, Tan Zou, and Meghna Mathews from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), and an advisory group including environmental and social science experts from UMCES and other organizations in the nation. The main goals of the surveys and interviews are to 1) understand stakeholders’ thoughts about nitrogen pollution and management in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and 2) collaborate with the stakeholders to improve the research and broaden its impacts.

Benefits of this Project

With integrated research, education, and stakeholder engagement, this project will provide a transparent framework and user-friendly models for monitoring and informing N management on various spatial scales. It will therefore help to direct efforts that can more effectively promote water quality and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while serving as a model for action-oriented research that can adapted for use across the country.

Stakeholder Engagement Programs Reports and Publications

This is an ongoing project starting in 2021. Updates of this project materials and its reports will come later. Please follow us to keep updated.

Stakeholder Engagement Research Team Members

Photo of Xin Zhang

Dr. Xin Zhang

Photo of Cat Davis

Dr. Cathlyn (Cat) Davis

Photo of Matthew Houser

Dr. Matthew Houser

Applied Social Scientist
The Nature Conservancy, MD-DC/UMCES

Tan Zou

Ph.D. Candidate
Photo of Meghna Matthews

Meghna Mathews

Graduate Student

Research Group Photos


Stakeholder Engagement Advisory board members:

Eric Davidson (Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science)

Bill Dennison (Science Applications, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science)

Robert Sabo (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Gary Shenk (U.S. Geological Survey)

Ray Weil (University of Maryland College Park)

Amy Jacob (The Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC Chapter)

James Lewis (University of Maryland Extension)

David Kanter (Environmental Studies, New York University)