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Targeting N2O emission hot-spots in dairy pastures for mitigation action: microbes, stable isotope methods and modelling

Objective

Nitrogen (N) limits primary productivity in most terrestrial ecosystems, which has led to increased use of N fertilisers within farming systems. The amount of reactive N in global circulation has more than doubled; this has global significance as the N can cascade through different chemical forms in land, air and water, leading to a range of human health and environmental impacts. In order to achieve sustainable food production systems of the future, there is a need to improve knowledge on the best management of farm N, especially under increased demand for food production under a burgeoning human population. The Target-N2O project will deliver a high quality training-through research project aiming to improve N use efficiency and reduce emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas, N2O, from intensive dairy farms. The project will combine multi-disciplinary techniques in a novel way, including molecular ecology, stable isotope methods and whole-farm system modelling to determine the cost-benefits of an N loss mitigation strategy. The strategy would be to apply nitrification inhibitors to pasture areas which have been identified as farm-scale N2O emission hot-spots (e.g. areas of pasture around gateways, livestock shelter areas and camping areas). Such areas receive regular inputs of nutrients including labile N (through urine events) and carbon sources (via dung), which fuel microbial processes leading to enhanced and spatially variable GHG emissions. Evidence of the effectiveness of nitrification inhibitors to reduce N losses from these areas are lacking. The results of the action will have cross-sectoral impact (scientists, dairy and fertiliser industries and policy makers). The project will deliver decision support tools for farmers utilising such a mitigation strategy and will impact policy by improving national GHG inventories, establishing the effectiveness of cost-effective mitigation strategies.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology
  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/fossil energy/gas
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
  • /agricultural sciences/animal and dairy science/dairy
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/ecosystems
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/production economics/productivity

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-IF-2017
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-GF - Global Fellowships

Coordinator

BANGOR UNIVERSITY
Address
College Road
LL57 2DG Bangor
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 276 107,40

Partners (1)

UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
Australia
Address
Parkvilleoffice Of The Vice Chancellor
3010 Melbourne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments