Press Releases

VFRC Releases Report on Planetary Boundaries

November 20, 2013 – WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center has released the third paper in its series of reports that explore the basis of the Center’s research agenda. The third report, written in cooperation with scientists from Plant Research International, a research institute connected with Wageningen University and Research Center, describes a methodology to assess the impact of fertilizer strategies on planetary boundaries, i.e., the limits of natural resources that constitute a “safe operating space for humanity.”

Fertilizers affect plant growth fundamentally and are essential to feed the world population. Yet, fertilizer use also contributes to eutrophication and greenhouse gas emissions. Overuse will aggravate these side effects, but underuse leads to agro-ecosystem’s degradation, poverty and hunger.
The use of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizers has been identified as one of the driving forces that push the Earth from its stable geological era of the Holocene into the Anthropocene with unknown implications for life on Earth. Curtailing nutrient losses will therefore have far-reaching implications on the Earth’s ecosystem functioning and human health and well-being.
The report describes a methodology to quantitatively link global N and P cycles to four other drivers of global change: land-system change, freshwater use, climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. This will allow the assessment of the impact of fertilizer interventions on these drivers, revealing synergies and trade-offs with respect to food security and the environment.
Click here to read VFRC Report 2013/3, “Methodology to Assess the Impact of Fertilizer Strategies on Planetary Boundaries.”
The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC) was created in 2010, as a semi-autonomous unit of IFDC, to fast-track the development of a new generation of rapidly deployable technologies that will enable responsible and sustainable food security, particularly in the world’s developing regions. The Center is collaborating with a global network of partners to conduct coordinated research under a unified technology agenda. Working with its partner network in a virtual setting, the science-based, global Center is creating the environment and platform that will allow rapid and affordable technology dissemination into the world market.

VFRC Contacts:

Prem Bindraban
Clyde Beaver (Media)
James Thigpen (Media)
256/381-6600 ext. 248
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