A high-resolution assessment on global nitrogen flows in cropland

Liu J, You L, Amini M, Obersteiner M, Herrero M, Zehnder AJB, & Yang H (2010). A high-resolution assessment on global nitrogen flows in cropland. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (17): 8035-8040. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0913658107.

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Abstract

Crop production is the single largest cause of human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle. We present a comprehensive assessment of global nitrogen flows in cropland for the year 2000 with a spatial resolution of 5 arc-minutes. We calculated a total nitrogen input (IN) of 136.60 trillion grams (Tg) of N per year, of which almost half is contributed by mineral nitrogen fertilizers, and a total nitrogen output (OUT) of 148.14 Tg of N per year, of which 55% is uptake by harvested crops and crop residues. We present high-resolution maps quantifying the spatial distribution of nitrogen IN and OUT flows, soil nitrogen balance, and surface nitrogen balance. The high-resolution data are aggregated at the national level on a per capita basis to assess nitrogen stress levels. The results show that almost 80% of African countries are confronted with nitrogen scarcity or nitrogen stress problems, which, along with poverty, cause food insecurity and malnutrition. The assesment also shows a global average nitrogen recovery rate of 59%, indicating that nearly two-fifths of nitrogen inputs are lost in ecosystems. More effective management of nitrogen is essential to reduce the deleterious environmental consequences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Global nitrogen cycle; Malnutrition; Nitrogen scarcity; Soil fertility
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Bibliographic Reference: PNAS; 107(17):8035-8040 (27 April 2010) (Published online 12 April 2010)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:43
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2016 09:26
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9236

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