Agroecological measures and circular economy strategies to ensure sufficient nitrogen for sustainable farming

Morais, T.G., Teixeira, R.F.M., Lauk, C., Theurl, M.C., Winiwarter, W. ORCID:, Mayer, A., Kaufmann, L., Haberl, H., et al. (2021). Agroecological measures and circular economy strategies to ensure sufficient nitrogen for sustainable farming. Global Environmental Change 69 e102313. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102313.

[thumbnail of TiagoMorais_2021_Manuscript_GEC.pdf] Text
TiagoMorais_2021_Manuscript_GEC.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 9 June 2024.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (525kB)
Project: Understanding and improving the sustainability of agro-ecological farming systems in the EU (UNISECO, H2020 773901)


Sustainable food systems face trade-offs between demands of low environmental pressures per unit area and requirements of increasing production. Organic farming has lower yields than conventional agriculture and requires the introduction of nitrogen (N) fixing legumes in crop rotations. Here we perform an integrated assessment of the feasibility of future food systems in terms of land and N availability and the potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Results show that switching to 100% organic farming without additional measures results in N deficiency. Dietary change towards a reduced share of animal products can aggravate N limitations, which can be overcome through the implementation of a combination of agroecological, circular economy and decarbonization strategies. These measures help to recycle and transfer N from grassland. A vegan diet from fully decarbonized conventional production performs similarly as the optimized organic scenario. Sustainable food systems hence require measures beyond the agricultural sector.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nutrient cycling; Food systems; Organic farming; Human diets
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Pollution Management (PM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2021 15:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:34

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item