Planetary Boundaries

Altered flows of nitrogen and phosphorus

The biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus have been radically changed by humans as a result of many industrial and agricultural processes. Fertilizer production and application is the main concern. A significant fraction of the applied nitrogen and phosphorus makes its way to the sea, and can push marine and aquatic systems across ecological thresholds of their own.

Caption: Agriculture around the Herbert River near the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.
Credit: Google / Digital Globe