Estimation of global NH3 emissions from synthetic fertilizers and animal manure applied to arable lands and grasslands

A.F. Bouwman, L.J.M. Boumans, N.H. Batjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

272 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main causes of the low efficiency in nitrogen (N) use by crops is the volatilization of ammonia (NH3) from fertilizers. Information taken from 1667 NH3 volatilization measurements documented in 148 research papers was summarized to assess the influence on NH3 volatilization of crop type, fertilizer type, and rate and mode of application and temperature, as well as soil organic carbon, texture, pH, CEC, measurement technique, and measurement location. The data set was summarized in three ways: (1) by calculating means for each of the factors mentioned, in which findings from each research paper were weighted equally; (2) by calculating weighted median values corrected for unbalanced features of the collected data; and (3) by developing a summary model using linear regression based on weighted median values for NH3 volatilization and by calculating global NH3 volatilization losses from fertilizer application using 0.5° resolution data on land use and soils. The calculated median NH3 loss from global application of synthetic N fertilizers (78 million tons N per year) and animal manure (33 million tons N per year) amount to 14% (10–19%) and 23% (19–29%), respectively. In developing countries, because of high temperatures and the widespread use of urea, ammonium sulfate, and ammonium bicarbonate, estimated NH3 volatilization loss from synthetic fertilizers amounts to 18%, and in industrialized countries it amounts to 7%. The estimated NH3 loss from animal manure is 21% in industrialized and 26% in developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • urea ammonium-nitrate
  • flooded rice fields
  • nitrogen loss
  • soil properties
  • grazed swards
  • emission
  • management
  • systems
  • inventory
  • sulfate

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Estimation of global NH3 emissions from synthetic fertilizers and animal manure applied to arable lands and grasslands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this