The global nitrogen cycle from 1965 to 2010


Here we provide cross-sectoral nitrogen budgets for the period 1965-2010 for 212 countries, including sub-budgets for croplands, pastures, natural vegetation, livestock systems, the food supply chain, international trade, sewage, muncipal waste, industry, transport, aquatic systems and the atmosphere. We quantify how human activity has increasingly amplified nitrogen flows in all sectors and altered not only managed but also natural terrestrial and aquatic ecoystems globally.

The nitrogen (N) cycle is one of the central biogeochemical cycles next to carbon, water and phosphorus. The N cycle is complex due to multiple and cascading chemical forms, the high mobility, and the influence of human activity. Massbalance budgets can support effective strategies to combat N pollution which threatens human health, biodiversity, and the economy. Here we provide crosssectoral N budgets for the period 1965-2010 for 212 countries. So far, comprehensive and detailed N budgets only exist for single countries and are not easily comparable.