PerspectiveEnvironment

Nitrogen in the environment

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, pp. 578-580
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav8215

Summary

Human activities have greatly perturbed the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries, which describe a safe operating space for humanity, have already been exceeded for the nitrogen cycle (1). In some parts of the world, excess nitrogen has negative impacts on biological diversity, human health, and climate. However, in other parts of the world, nitrogen shortages mean that food needs cannot be met. This large-scale disturbance of the nitrogen cycle presents considerable challenges that require wide-scale adoption of locally appropriate nitrogen management approaches.