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Journal Article

Redistribution of nitrogen to feed the people on a safer planet


Kahiluoto,  Helena
External Organizations;

Sakieh,  Yousef
External Organizations;

Kaseva,  Janne
External Organizations;

Kersebaum,  Kurt-Christian
External Organizations;


Minoli,  Sara
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Franke,  James
External Organizations;

Rötter,  Reimund P.
External Organizations;


Müller,  Christoph
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Kahiluoto, H., Sakieh, Y., Kaseva, J., Kersebaum, K.-C., Minoli, S., Franke, J., Rötter, R. P., Müller, C. (2024): Redistribution of nitrogen to feed the people on a safer planet. - PNAS Nexus, 3, 5, pgae170.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_29800
Lack of nitrogen limits food production in poor countries while excessive nitrogen use in industrial countries has led to transgression of the planetary boundary. However, the potential of spatial redistribution of nitrogen input for food security when returning to the safe boundary has not been quantified in a robust manner. Using an emulator of a global gridded crop model ensemble, we found that redistribution of current nitrogen input to major cereals among countries can double production in the most food insecure countries, while increasing global production of these crops by 12% with no notable regional loss or reducing the nitrogen input to the current production by one third. Redistribution of the input within the boundary increased production by 6–8% compared to the current relative distribution, increasing production in the food insecure countries by two thirds. Our findings provide georeferenced guidelines for redistributing nitrogen use to enhance food security while safeguarding the planet.