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Contrary to popular belief, dog poop is more likely to harm nature than nourish it. A study published in the British Ecological Society journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence showed that dog poop brings a significant amount of nutrients to the ecosystem but may result in over-fertilization.
An annual average of 11 kg of nitrogen and 5 kg of phosphorous per hectare were observed with 1,629 dogs in peri-urban forests and nature reserves near Ghent, Belgium for over 18 months. This has the potential to exert negative effects on biodiversity and the ecosystem. It may affect the diversity of plant and animal life as well as interspecies interactions.
Researchers asked dog owners to pick up after their pets. They also called for keeping them on leash in sensitive areas or for the alternative of “nearby off-leash dog parks”.
With the high fertilization rates by dogs, scientists are urging nature reserve managers to consider actions they have suggested to protect the areas.