The excessive levels of nitrogen coming from nitrogen compounds emanating from power plants, vehicles and fertilizers used in the agriculture could be a great threat to biodiversity in many areas of the world. One of these areas is also Rocky Mountain National Park where scientists discovered that the elevated levels of nitrogen are already changing the alpine vegetation.
Professor William Bowman at the University of Colorado said that the spreading nitrogen pollution in the park is „a first step in a series of changes which may be relatively irreversible.“
The increased atmospheric nitrogen pollution has already resulted in changes in plant abundances, which could eventually lead to high decrease of more rare species leading to significant biodiversity loss. The scientists also fear that the excessive levels of nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park will also lead to acidified soils and a major decline in trout population.
The nitrogen levels near the park are expected to grow, primarily because of the increased agricultural development in nearby area.
The park attracts many fishermen throughout the year and the fishing activity could be negatively affected with the increased nitrogen pollution because this presents major health risk for trout and their food sources. There is even a risk that nitrogen pollution could negatively impact tourism in Colorado.
The state of Colorado definitely needs to find adequate solutions to prevent further increase of nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. Some nearby power plants have already switched to cleaner energy sources (Excel Energy) and Colorado agricultural industry is also said to be working on several management practices that should lead to lower levels of nitrogen emissions.