globeNorth America

Overview of the Center

The North American Nitrogen Center, established early in 2004, is one of five globally distributed centers of the INI. The North American Nitrogen Center is charged wih assessing how human activity has altered nitrogen flows within North America, determing the environmental, human health, and economic consequences of this alteration, and helping to develop solutions to reduce the problem.

Goals of the Center

  • To improve assessments of sources and causes of nitrogen pollution, with an emphasis on evaluating trends in fluxes and environmental exposure.
  • To improve assessment of both the ecological and human health consequences of nitrogen pollution in North America.
  • To foster the application of judgement of experts to existing knowledge concerning alteration of the nitrogen cycle in order to identify scientifically credible potential solutions.
  • To communicate to the public our current scientific knowledge of problems and potential solutions of excess nitrogen in the environment in terms that are relevant to policy making and personal decisions.


The Center will work collaboratively with other institutions and organizations whenever appropriate and will coordinate closely with other INI regional centers to promote comprehensive analysis of problems associated with too much and too little nitrogen in various parts of the world.


Sustainability, the Journal of Record, has published a special issue on institutional nitrogen footprints.

The Tulane University (New Orleans, US) has announced the next phase of the their 'Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge', an international competition that will award $1 million to the entrepeneur, researcher or inventor with the best plan to reduc


08/13/2013 - 12:00 to 08/15/2013 - 12:00


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Reactive Nitrogen in the United States: An Analysis of Inputs, Flows, Consequences, and Management Options
This is a report of the EPA Science Advisory Board, which has conducted a study to analyze sources and fate of Nr in the United States and provide advice to EPA on integrated nitrogen research and control strategies. The objectives for this study were to:

  • Identify and analyze from a scientific perspective the problems Nr presents in the environment and the links among them;
  • Evaluate the contribution an integrated nitrogen management strategy could make to environmental protection;
  • Identify additional risk management options for EP A’s consideration; and
  • Make recommendations to EP A concerning improvements in nitrogen research to support risk reduction.

The SAB report provides findings and recommendations addressing these study objectives.

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agriculture can be tackled by reducing demand for, and consumption of, nitrogen (N) inputs via diet modification and waste reduction, and/or through technologies applied at the field level. This article focusses on the latter options. Opportunities for mitigating N2O emissions at the field level can be advanced by a clearer scientific understanding of the system complexities leading to emissions, while maintaining agricultural system sustainability and productivity. A range of technologies are available to reduce emissions, but rather than focus specifically on emissions, the broader management and policy focus should be on improved N use efficiency and effectiveness; for lower N2O emissions per unit of crop and animal product, or per unit of land area.



The National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded a 5-year project, beginning March 2011, to create a network of researchers who specialize in a wide range of disciplines pertaining to excess nitrogen in the environment, including aquatic and terrestrial ecology, agronomy, atmospheric chemistry, groundwater dynamics, engineering, epidemiology, and economics. We propose to partner with Resource Media, which has created Nitrogen News as part of a project supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Our Canadian colleagues have been conducting national N assessment activities under the umbrella of Canada’s participation in the UNECE Task Force on Reactive N (TFRN). The US also participates in TFRN. Although we have no joint projects at this moment, we aspire to coordinate US and Canadian N assessment activities and interests within the North American Center for the INI.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is tasked with producing a National Climate Assessment (NCA) in 2013. Due to the multiple interactions of nitrogen with climate change mitigation, adaptation, and impacts, we were invited by OSTP to submit a technical report that assesses nitrogen-interactions in the USA. The report was submitted on March 1, 2012, and is available for download here. Each of the seven chapters of the report has gone through peer review and will soon be available here and on the web site for the journal, Biogeochemistry.

Jim Galloway (Univ. of Virginia) and colleagues have developed this tool to help communicate to the public the role that their actions have on the nitrogen cycle and the environment. Through this tool, we aim to educate people about nitrogen, how their lifestyles impact the nitrogen cycle, and how they can reduce their nitrogen footprint. The tool will be upgraded as our underlying scientific knowledge improves. You can view the N-Calculator at the following website:

Our Director

Jill Baron

United States

Contact Us

Contact Person: 
Jill Baron
United States