Journal Highlights

Declining spatial efficiency of global cropland nitrogen allocation

Editors’ Highlight

The efficiency of use of fertilizer nitrogen is critical for the increasing global food production while reducing nitrogen pollution.  This paper establishes historical records of cropland nitrogen budgets and shows how the regional and temporal trends affect the efficiency of nitrogen use globally and across 12 regions. The authors find that the spatial allocation of N has become less efficient since the1960s and reallocating N among the 12 regions assessed in this manuscript could significantly reduce surplus N usage.