Addressing Agricultural Nitrogen Losses In A Changing Climate


A. Stuart Grandy, Amélie C. M. Gaudin, Eleanor E. Campbell, Shady S. Atallah, Timothy M. Bowles, William R. Wieder


agriculture, agroecosystem, climate change


Nature: International Journal of Science

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Nitrogen loss in agriculture poses a threat to both human and environmental health. Climate change along with intensive agricultural management will increase the harmful effects and suppress current mitigation efforts. If no action is taken, warmer climates can potentially intensify the global hydrological cycle and are expected to increase precipitation levels with more intense but infrequent rainfall. Thus, nitrogen loss affects plants, the soil, and microbial processes. This Review includes five propositions to reduce nitrogen losses in a climate that is rapidly changing: recognize the limitations of fertilizer management; breed for belowground traits; increase agroecosystem resilience, catalyze change with a socioeconomic perspective; and intercept nitrogen losses. Ultimately, building resilience to stressful conditions, both at the crop genotype and whole agroecosystem levels, will become increasingly more effective than fertilizer management.

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