Nitrogen balances at farm level as a tool to monitor effects of agri-environmental policy

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Abstract

Nitrogen balances at farm level are an important tool for monitoring the effects of agri-environmental policy in the European Union. Nitrogen surpluses, defined as the difference between input and output flows, are a pressure indicator to link agricultural activities with environmental quality indicators related to various environmental components.

Agricultural and environmental policies both aim to contribute to the achievement of less intensive production methods, and nitrogen balances are tools to monitor changes in the agricultural sector towards their achievement. The implementation of the Nitrates Directive seeks to contribute to the reduction of nitrogen losses to the environment by improving nutrient management in EU agriculture.

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