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Spatialised agricultural nitrogen balance of Veneto region, Northern Italy: sources identification, assessment and policy relevance

Paper Topic: 
Ecosystems and Natural Resources Management

Pages :
293 - 305

Corresponing Author: 
Pulighe G.
Pulighe G., Vanino S., Lupia F. and Altobelli F.
Paper ID: 
Paper Status: 
Date Paper Accepted: 
Paper online: 

The aim of this study is to deepening knowledge on the agricultural nitrogen cycle within the Veneto region (Northern Italy) by computing the Gross Nitrogen Balance (GNB) with highly geographical resolution. Spatialised maps of nitrogen input and output, created using the most detailed information available, are important tools for assessing environmental sustainability.

Nitrogen mass balances, computed at regional level for 2007, suggest a large N surplus in this area, over 82,485 t N year−1. Calculations indicate a large impact of animal husbandry and agricultural activities in this region, with livestock manure and synthetic fertilizers contributing 87.7 % of total N inputs (about 208,050 t N year−1), largely exceeding N outputs (about 1,255,644 t N year−1). The GIS-based analysis highlights interdependencies between farmer’s choices of land uses and the environmental pressures of agricultural activities at the sub-regional level. The results of the study can be used to inform policy makers about the effects caused by environmental management actions, that should take into account the interlinkages between landscapes, habitats, biodiversity and ecological integrity.


Gross Nitrogen Balance, Agro-environmental Land Units, GIS-based spatialisation, Veneto region, policy relevance