Pursuing sustainable nitrogen management following the “5 Ps” principles

06 August 2021 by Joann Cattlin

Liang, X., Lam, S. K., Zhang, X., Oenema, O., & Chen, D. (2021). Pursuing sustainable nitrogen management following the “5 Ps” principles: Production, People, Planet, Policy and Partnerships. Global Environmental Change70, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102346

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Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient to support life, but if poorly managed, can adversely affect the environment, ecosystems and human health. The global challenge of achieving food security with minimal ecosystem degradation and human health impacts hinges on sustainable N management, which goes beyond farm level and requires concerted efforts from a range of stakeholders. While various metrics have been developed to inform N management, most of them focus on one or two stakeholders only. Few efforts have tried to integrate N metrics to
derive a coherent set of actions for all stakeholders. Here we propose the “5 Ps” principles (Production, People, Planet, Policy and Partnerships) that shape guidelines for sustainable N management with multidimensional N metrics (i.e., N use efficiency, virtual N factor, N footprint, N neutrality, reactive N spatial intensity, N boundary, N price and N equity). The “5 Ps” principles address the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.

These principles allow multidimensional evaluation of N management, highlight specific areas for improvement, direct future research, and support the design of effective policy and legislation. They facilitate collective actions of producers, consumers, researchers and policy makers towards sustainable N management regionally and globally.


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