Developing a global perspective on improving agricultural nitrogen use

Brownlie, Will J.; Howard, Clare M.; Pasda, Gregor; Nave, Barbara; Zerulla, Wolfram; Sutton, Mark A. ORCID: 2015 Developing a global perspective on improving agricultural nitrogen use. Environmental Development, 15. 145-151.

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Nitrogen (N) fertilisers help ensure food security for many regions in the world, but excess or inappropriate use can have serious impacts on both human and environmental health (e.g. threatening air, soil, and water quality, reducing biodiversity and disrupting of greenhouse gas balance). While losses are exacerbated by the decoupling of animal and crop production systems, there are many opportunities to reduce N pollution and increase productivity simultaneously. On the 26th and 27th of March 2015, delegates from diverse backgrounds met at the Second BASF Fireside Chat to discuss these issues and explore possible solutions. Stakeholders from some regions emphasised the desire to avoid simplistic regulations, encouraging the empowerment of farmers to develop their own solutions. Other regions highlighted the need for more effective government intervention. This applied both for adoption of emission mitigation methods in regions of excess, as well as for good governance and infrastructure to improve fertiliser supply in regions of too little. A core message was that, although strategies to increase N use efficiency vary between global regions, there are substantial common themes, the shared development of which could greatly strengthen global action. These challenges are now being taken up by the International Nitrogen Initiative and the United Nations Environment Programme. With financial support from the Global Environment Facility, they are working towards an International Nitrogen Management System (INMS) to provide coordinated scientific support for international N policy-making.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Dise
ISSN: 2211-4645
Additional Keywords: nitrogen management, global, agriculture, fertiliser, cross-disciplinary
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 02 Feb 2016 11:52 +0 (UTC)

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