Fertilizers, especially fixed nitrogen, are the basis of modern agriculture. This central role in the world's food supply contrasts with the adverse effects caused by their widespread use. Isolated aspects such as nitrate contamination of groundwater in Germany are present in the public consciousness, yet the complex totality of the issue - including its impact on biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, environmental resources, and food supply - remains poorly discussed.
Understanding agriculture as a system with economic, ecological, and societal levels is crucial for establishing effective framework conditions that promote more efficient use of nitrogen or reduce negative effects. For the discussion on more environmentally friendly nitrogen management, the working group will therefore not only include agricultural practice but also the subsequent value chain from trade to sustainable consumption.
The comprehensive view of agriculture as a dynamic and adaptable system with many influencing variables is an impetus for linking modern society's demands for a sustainable food supply with technological developments. A science-based system analysis based on the nitrogen cascade and involving stakeholders serves to mediate in the discussion about the compatibility of modern agriculture with environmental sustainability.
More specifically, the members of the working group pursue the following goals:
ML = Member of the Leopoldina