Agriculture is considered one of the main nitrogen (N) pollution sources through the diffuse emissions of ammonia (NH3
) and nitrous oxide (N2
O) to the atmosphere and nitrate (NO3−
) to water bodies. The risk is particularly high in horticultural production systems (HPS), where the use of water and fertilizers is intensive and concentrated in space and time, and more specifically, in the case of vegetable crops that have high growth rates, demanding an abundant supply of water and nitrogen forms. Therefore, to comply with the EU environmental policies aimed at reducing diffuse pollution in agriculture, there is the need for mitigation practices or strategies acting at different levels such as the source, the timing and the transport of N. HPS are often well suited for improvement practices, but efficient and specific tools capable of describing and quantifying N losses for these particular production systems are required. The most common mitigation strategies found in the literature relate to crop, irrigation and fertilization management. Nevertheless, only the success of a mitigation strategy under specific conditions will allow its implementation to be increasingly targeted and more cost effective. Assessment methods are therefore required to evaluate and to quantify the impact of mitigation strategies in HPS and to select the most promising ones.
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