Showing results for: Nitrogen

31 January 2017

This paper examines high-resolution, crop-specific GHG emissions and GHG intensity estimates which are derived using a method that couples biophysical models with novel 5-arc-minute resolution data.

Photo credit: Analia Bertucci, USDA NRCS, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 December 2016

In this paper, the authors present an analysis of the nitrogen cycle in the agricultural production system of 12 world regions. From these results, they go on to suggest improvements in nitrogen use by changing the role of human diet, international trade and local production.

Photo credit: Chris Booth, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

The World Bank has released a short working paper arguing that the expansion of seaweed farming in tropical developing countries could have large positive impacts on local poverty, ecosystem management and climate change mitigation. The report goes through different benefits and uses of seaweed production and briefly discusses current and potential markets for the crop.

Photo: Flickr, Gene Alexander, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Creative Commons License 2.0
16 September 2016

The need to make the best use of agricultural land in the face of growing future demand has made sustainable intensification an important area of food systems research. Previous research which focused on this topic, looked at the spatial distribution of the intensity of agricultural production and how this has changed, but according to the authors, did not provide sufficient insight into the drivers of intensification patterns, especially at subnational scales.

Photo: Natural resources conservation service (Flickr, creative commons 2.0)
9 June 2016

This paper looks at how soil can help contribute to climate mitigation.  It argues that by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that improve the soil-nitrogen cycle (tighter cycle with less leakage), it is possible to enhance soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution.

3 February 2016

This report by Compassion in World Farming highlights the so-called “negative externalities” associated with livestock-based food production – that is, costs to human health and the environment that are borne by society as a whole and which are not accounted for by the cost of producing the food or the price of consuming it.

3 February 2016

This report quantifies the losses of reactive nitrogen from EU agriculture and food systems by food type, and assesses the impact of alternative diets (especially reduced meat) on the environment (through nitrogen emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and land use) and human health. Reactive nitrogen losses associated with agriculture refer mainly to the release of ammonia and nitrous oxide into the air, and nitrates into the ground. Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, and nitrate excesses in soil can lead to water pollution.

17 December 2015

Meat and dairy consumption have increased globally over the past fifty years. As livestock account for 80% of agriculture’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this article argues that to achieve climate targets, humans need to change their dietary habits.

9 November 2015

On October 28 2015 the European Parliament voted for binding targets on emissions of air pollutants with specific targets set for 2020, 2025 and 2030. The bill originally included ammonia and methane (CH4) among other air pollutants – but the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to exempt enteric methane emissions (emissions directly from farmed animals) from the bill. Setting targets for enteric methane was instead postponed to 2030, to give the agriculture sector time to adapt.

3 September 2015

This paper reviewed data from six national studies to quantify food waste within the EU and its associated loss of water and nitrogen resources in the EU as well as the uncertainties of these values.

16 July 2015


It is the perfect storm. Limited food, water and energy unequally spread between an expanding population, and a warming climate as the bitter icing on the cake. In all these global challenges nitrogen has a leading role to play.

18 June 2015

A new paper published in Global Change Biology looks into the effects of increasing CO2 levels on protein in crops. The study finds that not only can increased CO2 be a problem for food security through climate change, but it can also directly impact the nutritional value of crops.

29 January 2015

This updated version further develops the Planetary Boundaries concept, which was first published in 2009.  In their original outline of the concept the authors identified nine key global processes and systems that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth System – the interactions of land, ocean, atmosphere and life that together provide conditions upon which our societies depend.  They argued that if these natural processes are disrupted beyond a certain ‘boundary’ point, the consequences could be irreversible and lead to abrupt environmental change, making life on earth very hard for humans.

26 November 2014

Nitrogen is a necessary element for crop and livestock growth, and protein intake is essential for a balanced human diet. This study examines efforts to improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in agriculture, and reduce unintended losses of nitrogen (N) to the environment. The paper particularly looks at how it is possible to offset reactive nitrogen (Nr) and achieve so called nitrogen-neutrality.