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Air pollution affects food security in China: taking ozone as an example

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Abstract

Air pollution is becoming an increasingly important environmental concern due to its visible negative impact on human health. However, air pollution also affects agricultural crops or food security directly or indirectly, which has not so far received sufficient attention. In this overview, we take ozone (O3) as an example to analyze the principles and extent of the impact of air pollution on food security in China based on a review of the literature. Current O 3 pollution shows a clear negative impact on food security, causing around a 10% yield decrease for major cereal crops according to a large number of field studies around the world. The mean yield decrease of winter wheat is predicted to be up to 20% in China, based on the projection of future ground-level O 3 concentration in 2020, if no pollution control measures are implemented. Strict mitigation of NO x and VOC s (two major precursors of O3) emissions is crucial for reducing the negative impacts of ground-level O 3 on food security. Breeding new crop cultivars with tolerance to high ground-level O 3 should receive serious consideration in future research programs. In addition, integrated soil-crop system management will be an important option to mitigate the negative effects of elevated ground-level O 3 on cereal crop production and food quality.

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Nitrogen deposition and its ecological impact in China: an overview.

Nitrogen (N) deposition is an important component in the global N cycle that has induced large impacts on the health and services of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Anthropogenic reactive N (N(r)) emissions to the atmosphere have increased dramatically in China due to rapid agricultural, industrial and urban development. Therefore increasing N deposition in China and its ecological impacts are of great concern since the 1980s. This paper synthesizes the data from various published papers to assess the status of the anthropogenic N(r) emissions and N deposition as well as their impacts on different ecosystems, including empirical critical loads for different ecosystems. Research challenges and policy implications on atmospheric N pollution and deposition are also discussed. China urgently needs to establish national networks for N deposition monitoring and cross-site N addition experiments in grasslands, forests and aquatic ecosystems. Critical loads and modeling tools will be further used in N(r) regulation. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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Air pollution in mega cities in China

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Producing more grain with lower environmental costs.

Agriculture faces great challenges to ensure global food security by increasing yields while reducing environmental costs. Here we address this challenge by conducting a total of 153 site-year field experiments covering the main agro-ecological areas for rice, wheat and maize production in China. A set of integrated soil-crop system management practices based on a modern understanding of crop ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry increases average yields for rice, wheat and maize from 7.2 million grams per hectare (Mg ha(-1)), 7.2 Mg ha(-1) and 10.5 Mg ha(-1) to 8.5 Mg ha(-1), 8.9 Mg ha(-1) and 14.2 Mg ha(-1), respectively, without any increase in nitrogen fertilizer. Model simulation and life-cycle assessment show that reactive nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced substantially by integrated soil-crop system management. If farmers in China could achieve average grain yields equivalent to 80% of this treatment by 2030, over the same planting area as in 2012, total production of rice, wheat and maize in China would be more than enough to meet the demand for direct human consumption and a substantially increased demand for animal feed, while decreasing the environmental costs of intensive agriculture.

Author and article information

Affiliations
1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Author notes
liu310@cau.edu.cn
Contributors
Journal
Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.
FASE
CN10-1204/S
Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Higher Education Press (4 Huixin Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China)
2095-7505
2015
: 2
: 2
: 152-158

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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