Human activity has more than doubled the amount of reactive nitrogen (N) entering the biosphere, causing pollution of surface and ground waters and terrestrial ecosystems. The contribution of dogs to N loads in urban areas may be higher than from atmospheric deposition. This study is the first to determine N deposition by dogs in urban greenspaces and to examine its spatial extent, effects on soil chemistry, biota and implications for human health.
While the unpleasant effects of dog feces receives a good bit of attention, the environmental impacts of dog urine have been overlooked by other studies. Dog urine is rich in nitrogen, an important plant nutrient. But just as will nitrogen containing fertilizers, over-application can cause negative impacts in the soils and pollution of local waters. This study will measure how much nitrogen dogs are depositing in city parks, where that deposition occurs, and what effects it is having on soil quality.