Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Reducing Agriculture's Nitrogen Footprint: Are New Policy Approaches Needed?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ribaudo, Marc

Abstract

Nitrogen is the single most important input a farmer can control to increase crop yields on nonirrigated fields. Given this, and the fact that nitrogen has been a relatively inexpensive input, farmers have an economic incentive to “apply a little extra†to ensure that crops have the necessary nutrients when they need them most. As a consequence, excess nitrogen remains in the soil and freely moves into water resources or into the atmosphere. Agriculture is the single largest source of nitrogen compounds entering the environment in the U.S., contributing 73 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, 84 percent of ammonia emissions, and 54 percent of nitrate emissions in recent years. The production and release of nitrogen, however, has greatly changed the Earth’s natural balance of nitrogen. The influx of nitrogen compounds that can change form and move easily between air, land, and water, such as nitrate, nitrous oxide, and ammonia, contributes to both beneficial and harmful changes to ecosystems. Increased productivity in agricultural systems is a benefit. On the other hand, ozone-induced injury to crops and forests, acidification and over-enrichment (eutrophication) of aquatic ecosystems, biodiversity losses, visibility-impairing haze, and global climate change are all considered harmful impacts (see box, “Pathways for Nitrogen Lossesâ€). Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico and the declining health of the Chesapeake Bay are examples of the consequences of excess nitrogen in the environment, especially when compounded with other factors like the loss of wetlands and the increase in impervious surfaces, such as asphalt roads and parking lots.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/121012
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its journal Amber Waves.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): (September)
Pages:

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:ags:uersaw:121012

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1400 Independence Ave.,SW, Mail Stop 1800, Washington, DC 20250-1800
Phone: 202-694-5050
Fax: 202-694-5700
Email:
Web page: http://ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy;

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uersaw:121012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.