photo: iStockphoto/Brytta

Regionalisation of the Nitrogen Visualisation Tool

The nitrogen cycle is a complex one, and one that is being modified substantially due to human activities. This modification has a bearing on a wide range of issues such as biodiversity, human health, eutrophication of coastal environments, atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations and food production.

In view of the profound policy implications of the alteration of the nitrogen cycle, a nitrogen visualisation tool – aimed at providing an overview of key issues pertaining to nitrogen – was launched at the International Nitrogen Conference, organised in Brazil in 2007.

This tool offers a global perspective, but does not encompass the complexity that arises from regional or country-level variations in the behaviour of nitrogen and its compounds. Yet, such insights can be very useful as policy decisions are often taken at the national level. With this in mind, this IGBP fast-track initiative aims to extend the capabilities of the existing tool in a manner that allows regional complexities to be portrayed simply and effectively.


Albert Bleeker (Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands), Jim Galloway (University of Virginia, USA). Jan Willem Erisman (Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands) is the IGBP SC contact for this project.

Specific goals

1. To understand the regional variations in the behaviour of the nitrogen cycle, the specific issues involved (e.g., eutrification of coastal waters, food shortages, etc)
2. To communicate the regional variations via modifications to the nitrogen visualisation tool

Products envisaged

1. Regionalized version of the nitrogen visualisation tool


Workshop in early 2010