Success stories of nitrogen across two decades of international conferences

Jan Willem Erisman1,2, Enrico Dammers2, James N. Galloway3, Allison M. Leach5, Albert Bleeker4

1 Louis Bolk Institute, Hoofdstraat 24, 3972 LA, The Netherlands

2 VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Environmental Sciences Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA 22904 USA.
4 PBL Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency, Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, 3721MA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

5 Department of Natural Resources and The Sustainability Institute, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824 USA


The first International Nitrogen Conference was held in 1998 in the Netherlands. It was recognized then that nitrogen had grown from a local hotspot problem to an international and even global problem. The main focus of the conference was on scientific developments identifying the major issues related to the human influence on the nitrogen cycle and the potential options to deal with it. At the second Nitrogen Conference it was decided to initiate the International Nitrogen Initiative, and seven focus regions or continents were identified. Now, 18 years after the first conference in the Netherlands, the International Nitrogen Conference has been organized in and by all these seven regions, Oceania being the last in 2016. During these 18 years many developments have taken place and progress has been made on our scientific understanding of the different nitrogen issues, on the assessment of potential indicators and successful measures to address the issue and on the preparation of policies to reduce nitrogen pollution. In this presentation an overview will be given of these achievements using the International Nitrogen Conferences as milestones and showing how they contributed to the achievements.