, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 71–88 | Cite as

Nitrogen inputs and outputs for New Zealand in 2001 at national and regional scales

  • R. L. ParfittEmail author
  • L. A. Schipper
  • W. T. Baisden
  • A. H. Elliott


The Nanjing Declaration on Nitrogen Management, signed in Nanjing in October 2004, calls for national governments to optimize N management by several strategies including assessment of N cycles. Here we develop a first N budget for New Zealand (267,000 km2), at both national and regional scales. The national inputs are estimated to be 36.5 kg/ha, mainly from biological N fixation, but also increasingly from fertilizer application and atmospheric deposition. The outputs are estimated at 40.5 kg/ha. Biological N fixation from legumes in pasture was the most important input in most regions. Exceptions were Auckland, with a large urban population, and the West Coast of the South Island, with large tracts of rain forest. Outputs were distributed in the order leaching > ammonia volatilisation > erosion = produce = denitrification. These outputs are very different from global averages because of the large numbers of grazing animals on pasture. A large loss occurs between the subsoil and the oceans, and further research is needed to identify these pathways. Riverine export of N was generally well correlated with inputs.


Aquifers DON Groundwater Nitrate Rivers Sediment 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Parfitt
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. A. Schipper
    • 2
  • W. T. Baisden
    • 1
  • A. H. Elliott
    • 3
  1. 1.Landcare ResearchPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchHamiltonNew Zealand

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