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  • 1. Cease, Arianne J.
    et al.
    Capps, Krista A.
    Gates, Kiza K.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Nidzgorski, Daniel A.
    Consumer-driven nutrient dynamics in urban environments: the stoichiometry of human diets and waste management2015Ingår i: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 124, nr 7, s. 931-948Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Studies in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems have documented the potential importance of consumers on ecosystem-level nutrient dynamics. This is especially true when aggregations of organisms create biogeochemical hotspots through nutrient consumption, assimilation, and remineralization via excretion and egestion. Here, we focused on aggregations of humans in cities to examine how diet and waste management interact to drive nitrogen-(N) and phosphorus-(P) fluxes into nutrient pollution, inert forms, and nutrient recycling. We constructed six diet patterns (five US-based and one developing nation) to examine N-and P-consumption and excretion, and explored their implications for human health. Next, we constructed six waste-management patterns (three US and three for developing nations) to model how decisions at household and city scales determine the eventual fates of N and P. When compared to the US Recommended Daily Intake, all US diet patterns exceeded N and P requirements. Other than the enriched CO2 environment scenario diet, the typical US omnivore had the greatest excess (37% N and 62% P). Notably, P from food additives could account for all of the excess P found in US omnivore and vegetarian diets. Across all waste-management approaches, a greater proportion of P was stored or recycled (0 to > 100% more P than N) and a greater proportion of N was released as effluent (20 to > 100% more N than P) resulting in pollution enriched with N and a recycling stream enriched with P. In developing nations, 60% of N and 50% of P from excreta entered the environment as pollution because of a lack of sanitation infrastructure. Our study demonstrates a novel addition to modeling sustainable scenarios for urban N-and P-budgets by linking human diets and waste management through socio-ecological systems.

  • 2. Hong, Bongghi
    et al.
    Swaney, Dennis P.
    McCrackin, Michelle
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Svanbäck, Annika
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Humborg, Christoph
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Gustafsson, Bo
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Yershova, Alexandra
    Pakhomau, Aliaksandr
    Advances in NANI and NAPI accounting for the Baltic drainage basin: spatial and temporal trends and relationships to watershed TN and TP fluxes2017Ingår i: Biogeochemistry, ISSN 0168-2563, E-ISSN 1573-515X, Vol. 133, nr 3, s. 245-261Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to assess the progress toward eutrophication management goals, it is important to understand trends in land-based nutrient use. Here we present net anthropogenic nitrogen and phosphorus inputs (NANI and NAPI, respectively) for 2000 and 2010 for the Baltic Sea watershed. Overall, across the entire Baltic, between the 5-year periods centered on 2000 and 2010, NANI and NAPI decreased modestly by -6 and -4%, respectively, but with substantial regional variation, including major increases in the Gulf of Riga drainage basin (+19 and +58%, respectively) and decreases in the Danish Straits drainage basin (-25 and -40% respectively). The changes were due primarily to changes in mineral fertilizer use. Mineral fertilizers dominated inputs, at 57% of both NANI and NAPI in 2000, increasing to 68 and 70%, respectively, by 2010. Net food and feed imports declined over that period, corresponding to increased crop production; either fewer imports of food and feedstocks were required to feed humans and livestock, or more of these commodities were exported. A strong linear relationship exists between regional net nutrient inputs and riverine nutrient fluxes for both periods. About 17% of NANI and 4.7% of NAPI were exported to the sea in 2000; these relationships did not significantly differ from those for 2010. Changes in NANI from 2000 to 2010 across basins were directly proportional rather than linearly related to changes in total N (TN) fluxes to the sea (i.e., no change in NANI suggests no change in TN flux). Similarly, for all basins except those draining to the Baltic Proper, changes in NAPI were proportional to changes in total P (TP) fluxes. The Danish Straits decreased most between 2000 and 2010, where NANI and NAPI declined by 25 and 40%, respectively, and corresponding fluxes of TN and TP declined 31 and 18%, respectively. For the Baltic Proper, NAPI was relatively unchanged between 2000 and 2010, while riverine TP fluxes decreased 25%, due possibly to lagged effects of fertilizer reduction resulting from socio-political changes in the early 1990s or improvements in sewage treatment capabilities. For most regions, further reductions in NANI and NAPI could be achieved by more efficient production and greater substitution of manure for imported mineral fertilizers.

  • 3. Jones, Holly P.
    et al.
    Jones, Peter C.
    Barbier, Edward B.
    Blackburn, Ryan C.
    Benayas, Jose M. Rey
    Holl, Karen D.
    McCrackin, Michelle
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Meli, Paula
    Montoya, Daniel
    Mateos, David Moreno
    Restoration and repair of Earth's damaged ecosystems2018Ingår i: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 285, nr 1873, artikel-id 20172577Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Given that few ecosystems on the Earth have been unaffected by humans, restoring them holds great promise for stemming the biodiversity crisis and ensuring ecosystem services are provided to humanity. Nonetheless, few studies have documented the recovery of ecosystems globally or the rates at which ecosystems recover. Even fewer have addressed the added benefit of actively restoring ecosystems versus allowing them to recover without human intervention following the cessation of a disturbance. Our meta-analysis of 400 studies worldwide that document recovery from large-scale disturbances, such as oil spills, agriculture and logging, suggests that though ecosystems are progressing towards recovery following disturbances, they rarely recover completely. This result reinforces conservation of intact ecosystems as a key strategy for protecting biodiversity. Recovery rates slowed down with time since the disturbance ended, suggesting that the final stages of recovery are the most challenging to achieve. Active restoration did not result in faster or more complete recovery than simply ending the disturbances ecosystems face. Our results on the added benefit of restoration must be interpreted cautiously, because few studies directly compared different restoration actions in the same location after the same disturbance. The lack of consistent value added of active restoration following disturbance suggests that passive recovery should be considered as a first option; if recovery is slow, then active restoration actions should be better tailored to overcome specific obstacles to recovery and achieve restoration goals. We call for a more strategic investment of limited restoration resources into innovative collaborative efforts between scientists, local communities and practitioners to develop restoration techniques that are ecologically, economically and socially viable.

  • 4.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Cooter, Ellen J.
    Dennis, Robin L.
    Harrison, John A.
    Compton, Jana E.
    Alternative futures of dissolved inorganic nitrogen export from the Mississippi River Basin: influence of crop management, atmospheric deposition, and population growth2017Ingår i: Biogeochemistry, ISSN 0168-2563, E-ISSN 1573-515X, Vol. 133, nr 3, s. 263-277Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Nitrogen (N) export from the Mississippi River Basin contributes to seasonal hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). We explored monthly dissolved inorganic N (DIN) export to the GOM for a historical year (2002) and two future scenarios (year 2022) by linking macroeonomic energy, agriculture market, air quality, and agriculture land management models to a DIN export model. Future scenarios considered policies aimed at encouraging bioenergy crop production and reducing atmospheric N-emissions, as well as the effect of population growth and the states' infrastructure plans on sewage fluxes. Model-derived DIN export decreased by about 9% (from 279 to 254 kg N km(-2) year(-1)) between 2002 and 2022 due to a 28% increase in area planted with corn, 24% improvement in crop N-recovery efficiency (NRE, to 0.52), 22% reduction in atmospheric N deposition, and 23% increase in sewage inputs. Changes in atmospheric and sewage inputs had a relatively small effect on DIN export and the effect of bioenergy crop production depended on nutrient management practices. Without improved NRE, increased production of corn would have increased DIN export by about 14% (to 289 kg N km(-2) year(-1)) between 2002 and 2022. Model results suggest that meeting future crop demand while reducing the areal extent of hypoxia could require aggressive actions, such improving basin-level crop NRE to 0.62 or upgrading N-removal capabilities in waste water treatment plants beyond current plans. Tile-drained cropland could contribute up to half of DIN export; thus, practices that reduce N losses from tile drains could also have substantial benefit.

  • 5.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Gustafsson, Bo G.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Hong, Bongghi
    Howarth, Robert W.
    Humborg, Christoph
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum. University of Helsinki, Finland.
    Savchuck, Oleg P.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Svanbäck, Annika
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Swaney, Dennis P.
    Opportunities to reduce nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea by improving manure use efficiency in agriculture2018Ingår i: Regional Environmental Change, ISSN 1436-3798, E-ISSN 1436-378X, Vol. 18, nr 6, s. 1843-1854Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    While progress has been made in reducing external nutrient inputs to the Baltic Sea, further actions are needed to meet the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), especially for the Baltic Proper, Gulf of Finland, and Gulf of Riga sub-basins. We used the net anthropogenic nitrogen and phosphorus inputs (NANI and NAPI, respectively) nutrient accounting approach to construct three scenarios of reduced NANI-NAPI. Reductions assumed that manure nutrients were redistributed from areas with intense animal production to areas that focus on crop production and would otherwise import synthetic and mineral fertilizers. We also used the Simple as Necessary Baltic Long Term Large Scale (SANBALTS) model to compare eutrophication conditions for the scenarios to current and BSAP-target conditions. The scenarios suggest that reducing NANI-NAPI by redistributing manure nutrients, together with improving agronomic practices, could meet 54–82% of the N reductions targets (28–43 kt N reduction) and 38–64% P reduction targets (4–6.6 kt P reduction), depending on scenario. SANBALTS output showed that even partial fulfillment of nutrient reduction targets could have ameliorating effects on eutrophication conditions. Meeting BSAP targets will require addressing additional sources, such as sewage. A common approach to apportioning sources to external nutrients loads could enable further assessment of the feasibility of eutrophication management targets.

  • 6.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    et al.
    National Research Council, National Academies of Science, USA; Washington State University, USA.
    Harrison, John A.
    Washington State University, USA.
    Compton, Jana E.
    Western Ecology Division, USEPA, USA.
    Future Riverine Nitrogen Export to Coastal Regions in the United States: Prospects for Improving Water Quality2015Ingår i: Journal of Environmental Quality, ISSN 0047-2425, E-ISSN 1537-2537, Vol. 44, nr 2, s. 345-355Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Nitrogen (N) fluxes generated by an increasing human population have the potential to increase coastal riverine N loading, with implications for areas already degraded by elevated nutrient loads. Here we examine contemporary (year 2005) and future (year 2030) loading of total dissolved N (TDN) in the continental United States using the Nutrient Export from WaterSheds model (NEWS2US–TDN). Model-derived TDN estimates compared well with measured export of 29 catchments that represent 65% of land surface area for the continental United States (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency = 0.83). Future output is based on scenarios that reflect future population growth and “business as usual” (BAU) and “ambitious” (AMB) approaches to nutrient management. Model-derived TDN export was 2.1 Tg N yr−1 in 2005 and 2.2 and 1.6 Tg N yr−1 in 2030 for the BAU and AMB scenarios, respectively. Depending on year and scenario, agriculture supplies 44 to 48% of coastal TDN, atmospheric N deposition supplies 14 to 17%, human sewage supplies 13 to 18%, and background sources supply 21 to 29%. The AMB scenario suggests that reducing nutrient loads to coastal areas will require aggressive actions, including a 25% improvement in agricultural nutrient use efficiency, a 20% reduction in N runoff from croplands, a 30% reduction in ammonia emissions from agriculture, and a 40% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles. Together, these aggressive actions could reduce year 2030 TDN export by 24% from 2005 levels, even with a 20% larger population.

  • 7.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Jones, Holly P.
    Jones, Peter C.
    Moreno-Mateos, David
    Recovery of lakes and coastal marine ecosystems from eutrophication: A global meta-analysis2017Ingår i: Limnology and Oceanography, ISSN 0024-3590, E-ISSN 1939-5590, Vol. 62, nr 2, s. 507-518Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to inform policies aimed at reducing nutrient emissions to surface waters, it is essential to understand how aquatic ecosystems respond to eutrophication management. Using data from 89 studies worldwide, we examined responses to the reduction or cessation of anthropogenic nutrient inputs relative to baseline conditions. Baseline conditions were pre-disturbance conditions, undisturbed reference sites, restoration targets, or experimental controls. We estimated recovery completeness (% baseline conditions reached) and recovery rate (annual % change relative to baseline conditions) for plant and animal abundance and diversity and for ecosystem functions. Categories were considered fully recovered if the 95% confidence interval (CI) of recovery completeness overlapped 100% and partially recovered if the CI did not overlap either 100% or zero. Cessation of nutrient inputs did not result in more complete or faster recovery than partial nutrient reductions, due likely to insufficient passage of time, nutrients from other sources, or shifting baselines. Together, lakes and coastal marine areas achieved 34% (+/- 16% CI) and 24% (+/- 15% CI) of baseline conditions decades after the cessation or partial reduction of nutrients, respectively. One third of individual response variables showed no change or worsened conditions, suggesting that achieving baseline conditions may not be possible in all cases. Implied recovery times after cessation of nutrient inputs varied widely, from < 1 yr to nearly a century, depending on response. Our results suggest that long-term monitoring is needed to better understand recovery timescales and trajectories and that policy measures must consider the potential for slow and partial recovery.

  • 8.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Muller-Karulis, Bärbel
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Gustafsson, Bo G.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum. University of Helsinki, Finland.
    Howarth, Robert W.
    Humborg, Christoph
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum. University of Helsinki, Finland.
    Svanbäck, Annika
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Swaney, Dennis P.
    A Century of Legacy Phosphorus Dynamics in a Large Drainage Basin2018Ingår i: Global Biogeochemical Cycles, ISSN 0886-6236, E-ISSN 1944-9224, Vol. 32, nr 7, s. 1107-1122Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    There is growing evidence that the release of phosphorus (P) from legacy stores can frustrate efforts to reduce P loading to surface water from sources such as agriculture and human sewage. Less is known, however, about the magnitude and residence times of these legacy pools. Here we constructed a budget of net anthropogenic P inputs to the Baltic Sea drainage basin and developed a three-parameter, two-box model to describe the movement of anthropogenic P though temporary (mobile) and long-term (stable) storage pools. Phosphorus entered the sea as direct coastal effluent discharge and via rapid transport and slow, legacy pathways. The model reproduced past waterborne P loads and suggested an similar to 30-year residence time in the mobile pool. Between 1900 and 2013, 17 and 27 Mt P has accumulated in the mobile and stable pools, respectively. Phosphorus inputs to the sea have halved since the 1980s due to improvements in coastal sewage treatment and reductions associated with the rapid transport pathway. After decades of accumulation, the system appears to have shifted to a depletion phase; absent further reductions in net anthropogenic P input, future waterborne loads could decrease. Presently, losses from the mobile pool contribute nearly half of P loads, suggesting that it will be difficult to achieve substantial near-term reductions. However, there is still potential to make progress toward eutrophication management goals by addressing rapid transport pathways, such as overland flow, as well as mobile stores, such as cropland with large soil-P reserves.

  • 9. Moreno-Mateos, David
    et al.
    Barbier, Edward B.
    Jones, Peter C.
    Jones, Holly P.
    Aronson, James
    López-López, José A.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Meli, Paula
    Montoya, Daniel
    Rey Benayas, José M.
    Anthropogenic ecosystem disturbance and the recovery debt2017Ingår i: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723, E-ISSN 2041-1723, Vol. 8, artikel-id 14163Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Ecosystem recovery from anthropogenic disturbances, either without human intervention or assisted by ecological restoration, is increasingly occurring worldwide. As ecosystems progress through recovery, it is important to estimate any resulting deficit in biodiversity and functions. Here we use data from 3,035 sampling plots worldwide, to quantify the interim reduction of biodiversity and functions occurring during the recovery process (that is, the 'recovery debt'). Compared with reference levels, recovering ecosystems run annual deficits of 46-51% for organism abundance, 27-33% for species diversity, 32-42% for carbon cycling and 31-41% for nitrogen cycling. Our results are consistent across biomes but not across degrading factors. Our results suggest that recovering and restored ecosystems have less abundance, diversity and cycling of carbon and nitrogen than 'undisturbed' ecosystems, and that even if complete recovery is reached, an interim recovery debt will accumulate. Under such circumstances, increasing the quantity of less-functional ecosystems through ecological restoration and offsetting are inadequate alternatives to ecosystem protection.

  • 10. Sobota, Daniel J.
    et al.
    Compton, Jana E.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Singh, Shweta
    Cost of reactive nitrogen release from human activities to the environment in the United States2015Ingår i: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 10, nr 2, artikel-id 25006Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Leakage of reactive nitrogen (N) from human activities to the environment can cause human health and ecological problems. Often these harmful effects are not reflected in the costs of food, fuel, and fiber that derive from Nuse. Spatial analyses of damage costs attributable to source at management-relevant scales could inform decisions in areas where anthropogenic N leakage causes harm. We used recently compiled data describing N inputs in the conterminous United States (US) to assess potential damage costs associated with anthropogenic N. We estimated fates of N leaked to the environment (air/deposition, surface freshwater, groundwater, and coastal zones) in the early 2000s by multiplying watershed-level N inputs (8-digit US Geologic Survey Hydrologic Unit Codes; HUC8s) with published coefficients describing nutrient uptake efficiency, leaching losses, and gaseous emissions. We scaled these N leakage estimates with mitigation, remediation, direct damage, and substitution costs associated with human health, agriculture, ecosystems, and climate (per kg of N) to calculate annual damage cost (US dollars in 2008 or as reported) of anthropogenic N per HUC8. Estimates of N leakage by HUC8 ranged from <1 to 125 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1), with most N leaked to freshwater ecosystems. Estimates of potential damages (based on median estimates) ranged from $1.94 to $2255 ha(-1) yr(-1) across watersheds, with a median of $252 ha(-1) yr(-1). Eutrophication of freshwater ecosystems and respiratory effects of atmospheric N pollution were important across HUC8s. However, significant data gaps remain in our ability to fully assess N damages, such as damage costs from harmful algal blooms and drinking water contamination. Nationally, potential health and environmental damages of anthropogenic N in the early 2000s totaled $210 billion yr(-1) USD (range: $81-$441 billion yr(-1)). While a number of gaps and uncertainties remain in these estimates, overall this work represents a starting point to inform decisions and engage stakeholders on the costs of N pollution.

  • 11.
    Svanbäck, Annika
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Swaney, Dennis P.
    Linefur, Helena
    Gustafsson, Bo G.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum. University of Helsinki, Finland.
    Howarth, Robert W.
    Humborg, Christoph
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum. University of Helsinki, Finland.
    Reducing agricultural nutrient surpluses in a large catchment - Links to livestock density2019Ingår i: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 648, s. 1549-1559Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    The separation between crop- and livestock production is an important driver of agricultural nutrient surpluses in many parts of the world. Nutrient surpluses can be symptomatic of poor resource use efficiency and contribute to environmental problems. Thus, it is important not only to identify where surpluses can be reduced, but also the potential policy tools that could facilitate reductions. Here, we explored linkages between livestock production and nutrient flows for the Baltic Sea catchment and discuss management practices and policies that influence the magnitude of nutrient surpluses. We found that the majority of nutrients cycled through the livestock sector and that large nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses often occurred in regions with high livestock density. Imports of mineral fertilizers and feed to the catchment increased overall surpluses, which in turn increased the risk of nutrient losses from agriculture to the aquatic environment. Many things can be done to reduce agricultural nutrient surpluses; an important example is using manure nutrients more efficiently in crop production, thereby reducing the need to import mineral fertilizers. Also, existing soil P reserves could be used to a greater extent, which further emphasizes the need to improve nutrient management practices. The countries around the Baltic Sea used different approaches to manage agricultural nutrient surpluses, and because eight of the coastal countries are members in the European Union (EU), common EU policies play an important role in management. We observed reductions in surpluses between 2000 and 2010 in some countries, which suggested the influence of different approaches to management and policy and that there are opportunities for further improvement. However, the separation between crop and livestock production in agriculture appears to be an underlying cause of nutrient surpluses; thus, further research is needed to understand how policy can address these structural issues and increase sustainability in food production.

  • 12. van Grinsven, Hans J. M.
    et al.
    Bouwman, Lex
    Cassman, Kenneth G.
    van Es, Harold M.
    McCrackin, Michelle L.
    Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Stockholms universitets Östersjöcentrum.
    Beusen, Arthur H. W.
    Losses of Ammonia and Nitrate from Agriculture and Their Effect on Nitrogen Recovery in the European Union and the United States between 1900 and 20502015Ingår i: Journal of Environmental Quality, ISSN 0047-2425, E-ISSN 1537-2537, Vol. 44, nr 2, s. 356-367Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Historical trends and levels of nitrogen (N) budgets and emissions to air and water in the European Union and the United States are markedly different. Agro-environmental policy approaches also differ, with emphasis on voluntary or incentive-based schemes in the United States versus a more regulatory approach in the European Union. This paper explores the implications of these differences for attaining long-term policy targets for air and water quality. Nutrient surplus problems were more severe in the European Union than in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. The EU Nitrates and National Emission Ceilings directives contributed to decreases in fertilizer use, N surplus, and ammonia (NH3) emissions, whereas in the United States they stabilized, although NH3 emissions are still increasing. These differences were analyzed using statistical data for 1900-2005 and the global IMAGE model. IMAGE could reproduce NH3 emissions and soil N surpluses at different scales (European Union and United States, country and state) and N loads in the Rhine and Mississippi. The regulation-driven changes during the past 25 yr in the European Union have reduced public concerns and have brought agricultural N loads to the aquatic environment closer to US levels. Despite differences in agro-environmental policies and agricultural structure (more N-fixing soybean and more spatially separated feed and livestock production in the United States than in the European Union), current N use efficiency in US and EU crop production is similar. IMAGE projections for the IAASTD-baseline scenario indicate that N loading to the environment in 2050 will be similar to current levels. In the United States, environmental N loads will remain substantially smaller than in the European Union, whereas agricultural production in 2050 in the United States will increase by 30% relative to 2005, as compared with an increase of 8% in the European Union. However, in the United States, even rigorous mitigation with maximum recycling of manure N and a 25% reduction in fertilizer use will not achieve the policy target to halve the N export to the Gulf of Mexico.

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