New study helps estimate N2O generated by fertilizer applications to crops

James Gerber, of the University of Minnesota, co-PI for the DEVIL project and co-authors (including DEVIL researchers Paul West, Mario Herrero, and Pete Smith) have produced the first sub-national, crop-specific global maps of N2O emissions associated with synthetic and manure N fertilizer application to crops. Published in May in the journal Global Change Biology, the results from their study can be used to help target management and policy interventions to help meet commitments made last year in Paris.  The authors estimate circa 2000 global emissions of 0.66 Tg N2O-N, which is substantially lower than previous estimates which did not include manure.

The new data and methods not only boost our ability to accurately estimate how much N2O is being generated by current fertilizer practices around the world, but also shows where fertilizer application could be increased or decreased to maximize the benefits while minimizing the climate downsides.

Read further about this study at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment: "Finding fertilizer's environmental sweet spot." 

The paper, "Spatially explicit estimates of N2O emissions from croplands suggest climate mitigation opportunities from improved fertilizer management," can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF.