Definitions for "Nutrient cycle"
See biogeochemical cycle.
The repeated pathway of particular nutrients or elements from the environment through one or more organisms back to the environment. Nutrient cycles include the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorus cycle, and so on.
The circulation of chemical elements and compounds, such as carbon and nitrogen, in specific pathways from the non-living parts of ecosystems into the organic substances of the living parts of ecosystems, and then back again to the non-living parts of the ecosystem. For instance, nitrogen in wood is returned to the soil as the dead tree decays; the nitrogen again becomes available to living organisms in the soil, and upon their death, the nitrogen is available to plants growing in that soil. It is the interruption of the nutrient cycle that makes the slash and burn deforestation practices incompatible to sustainable forestry.