A nitrogen budget for Denmark; developments between 1990 and 2010, and prospects for the future

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Part of Focus on Nitrogen Management Challenges: From Global to Local Scales
A nitrogen (N) budget for Denmark has been developed for the years 1990 to 2010, describing the inputs and outputs at the national scale and the internal flows between relevant sectors of the economy. Satisfactorily closing the N budgets for some sectors of the economy was not possible, due to missing or contradictory information. The budgets were nevertheless considered sufficiently reliable to quantify the major flows. Agriculture was responsible for the majority of inputs, though fisheries and energy generation also made significant contributions. Agriculture was the main source of N input to the aquatic environment, whereas agriculture, energy generation and transport all contributed to emissions of reactive N gases to the atmosphere. Significant reductions in inputs of reactive N have been achieved during the 20 years, mainly by restricting the use of N for crop production and improving livestock feeding. This reduction has helped reduce nitrate leaching by about half. Measures to limit ammonia emissions from agriculture and mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from energy generation and transport, has reduced gaseous emissions of reactive N. Much N flows through the food and feed processing industries and there is a cascade of N through the consumer to solid and liquid waste management systems. The budget was used to frame a discussion of the potential for further reductions in losses of reactive N to the environment. These will include increasing the recycling of N between economic sectors, increasing the need for the assessment of knock-on effects of interventions within the context of the national N cycle.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer115012
TidsskriftEnvironmental Research Letters
Vol/bind9
Nummer11
Antal sider8
ISSN1748-9326
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2014

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