Rethinking nitrogen use: need to plan beyond present

Tariq Aziz*, Abdul Wakeel, Ahmad Shahzad, RM Rees, Mark A. Sutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Nitrogen, being an integral part of proteins, DNA, RNA, chlorophyll, enzymes, and several other biomolecules, is vital for life on earth. About 50% of global food production is dependent on mineral N fertilizers; hence, it is essential for food security and economic development. Its excessive and inefficient use, however, results in several environmental externalities such as deterioration of air and water quality, soil health, climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and loss of biodiversity. Nitrogen pollution is already crossing the planetary boundary, hence it needs immediate attention. However, various environmental damages caused by N losses need to be balanced against the benefits that are associated with N use in agriculture and the role it plays in contributing to food security. It is therefore important to account for the costs and benefits of mitigation policies at local, regional, and global levels. This chapter discusses the N challenge, its impacts on the environment and climate change, its use in South Asia particularly in Pakistan, and the policies aiming at increasing its use efficiencies and reducing environmental impacts of surplus N.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNitrogen Assessment
Subtitle of host publicationPakistan as a Case Study
EditorsTariq Aziz, Abdul Wakeel, Muhammad Watto, Muhammad Sanaullah, Muhammad Maqsood, Aysha Kiran
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic) 978-0-12-824417-3
ISBN (Print)9780323860079
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Pakistan
  • Nitrogen
  • Sustainable development
  • Climate change
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Food security
  • Water quality
  • Air pollution
  • Global warming
  • Biodiversity


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