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Can legumes solve the nitrogen problem?

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Slides presented during "How legume science is enabling industry "

Webinar 6: European legumes in transition 4th May 2021

"Can legumes solve the nitrogen problem?"

Presented by : Prof Bob Rees - Head of Carbon, Crops and Soils, Scotland’s Rural College, Scotland, UK- Agriculture and Climate Change, with focuses on greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient cycling

Human interventions in the global nitrogen cycle have contributed to an environmental crisis.  We currently use in excess of 120 Tg of synthetic fertiliser nitrogen globally to drive our agricultural systems and it is projected that further increases in nitrogen fertiliser use will be required to support population growth and increased food production.  Despite this current level of nitrogen inputs to agricultural systems are already contributing to severe environmental impacts on water quality, the global greenhouse gas balance, biodiversity, and soils.  The United Nations Environment Programme has recommended that we move towards reducing nitrogen waste in agricultural systems by 50%.  More efficient nitrogen use also aligns with policy commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in environmental quality.  Legumes provide an alternative nitrogen input to agricultural systems that could avoid some of the adverse consequences of synthetic fertiliser use.  Potential opportunities and barriers are explored in this presentation.

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