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This content will become publicly available on May 1, 2023

Title: Projecting future nitrogen inputs: are we making the right assumptions?
Abstract Global use of reactive nitrogen (N) has increased over the past century to meet growing food and biofuel demand, while contributing to substantial environmental impacts. Addressing continued N management challenges requires anticipating pathways of future N use. Several studies in the scientific literature have projected future N inputs for crop production under a business-as-usual scenario. However, it remains unclear how using yield response functions to characterize a given level of technology and management practices (TMP) will alter the projections when using a consistent dataset. In this study, to project N inputs to 2050, we developed and tested three approaches, namely ‘Same nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)’, ‘Same TMP’, and ‘Improving TMP’. We found the approach that considers diminishing returns in yield response functions (‘Same TMP’) resulted in 268 Tg N yr −1 of N inputs, which was 61 and 48 Tg N yr −1 higher than when keeping NUE at the current level with and without considering changes in crop mix, respectively. If TMP continue to evolve at the pace of past five decades, projected N inputs reduce to 204 Tg N yr −1 , a value that is still 59 Tg N yr −1 higher than the inputs in more » the baseline year 2006. Overall, our results suggest that assuming a constant NUE may be too optimistic in projecting N inputs, and the full range of projection assumptions need to be carefully explored when investigating future N budgets. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1739823 2137033
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10340604
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Volume:
17
Issue:
5
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
054035
ISSN:
1748-9326
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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