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Nashville Yard Project

About the Project

logo for Nashville Yard ProjectGrasses and Gases: Modeling Human Dynamics of Lawn Fertilization and Resultant Nitrous Oxide Emissions
Nitrous oxide emissions arise from household application of nitrogen-containing fertilizer, yet their contributions to US greenhouse gas emissions and the opportunities for low-cost emissions reductions are not well understood. Nitrous oxide is roughly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide; thus even small quantities of nitrous oxide emissions may constitute a meaningful share of US GHG emissions. Nitrous oxide emissions from this sector have not been the focus of social science research or research into climate change mitigation laws and policies.

This VIEE integrated, interdisciplinary study will examine

  • The physical processes that lead to nitrous oxide emissions from household nitrogen-containing fertilizer use
  • The types and levels of individual and household activities that affect household nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer use
  • The values, beliefs and norms associated with these individual and household activities
  • The communities and social networks associated with these activities.

We seek to understand how the combined knowledge of emissions and behavioral characteristics can be used to effect reductions of nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer use in the Richland Creek watershed in Nashville. The research team represents a combination of social scientists, hydrologists, and an environmental lawyer.

The project will contribute to the development of research and education capacity of the nonprofits and community-based organizations operating in the Richland Creek watershed area in Nashville (particularly the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance and the Cumberland River Compact), other Nashville watersheds, and other urban regions of the United States.

The project aims to assist environmental activist groups, homeowners associations, and other organizations to help homeowners make more environmentally friendly lawn care decisions.