Global Nitrogen Enrichment (GANE)
Every organism needs nitrogen, but most can't use the abundant nitrogen gas in air. A few organisms 'fix' nitrogen into a form others can use. They have kept our ecosystems functioning for hundreds of millions of years.
- But humankind adds extra 'fixed' nitrogen to crops as fertilizer.
- Our livestock release ammonia to the air, and manure releases nitrogen into freshwaters.
- Our industries and vehicles emit massive amounts of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, which are later deposited back on the land and oceans in forms that plants can use.
These processes have doubled the amount of fixed, biologically active nitrogen in global circulation, with enormous consequences for natural ecosystems. More about the GANE programme