Consequences of the cultivation of energy crops for the global nitrogen cycle

A.F. Bouwman, J.J.M. van Grinsven, B. Eickhout

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this paper, we assess the global consequences of implementing first- and second-generation bioenergy in the coming five decades, focusing on the nitrogen cycle. We Use a climate mitigation scenario from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Environmental Outlook, in which a carbon tax is introduced to stimulate production of biofuels from energy crops. In this scenario, the area of energy crops will increase from 8 Mha in the year 2000 to 270 Mha (14% of total cropland) and producing 5.6 Pg dry matter per year (12% of energy use) in 2050. This production requires and additional annual 19 Tg or N fertilizer in 2050 (15% of total), and this causes a global emission of 0.7 Tg or N2O-N (8% of agricultural emissions), 0.2 Tg NO-N (6%), and 2.2 Tg of NH3-N (5%). In addition, we project that 2.6 Tg of NO3 -N will leach from fields under energy crops. The emissions of N2O may be an important term in the greenhouse gas balance of biofuels produced from energy crops.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-109
    JournalEcological Applications
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • biomass energy
    • soils
    • n2o
    • environment
    • emissions
    • forests
    • fields

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