Eutrophying deposition, 1981-2012

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Eutrophying deposition totalled over 1,800 mol nitrogen per ha in 2012, averaged over the Netherlands. Deposition has therefore decreased by 34% since 1981.

Deposition levels of eutrophying compounds

There are large regional differences in the deposition of eutrophying compounds. In particular in areas with intensive livestock farming, such as de Peel and de Gelderse Vallei, nitrogen deposition can reach levels of up to 6,300 and 5,100 mol per hectare respectively. Such high deposition is mainly due to high local ammonia emissions from intensive livestock farming. Ammonia is emitted close to the ground and has a high deposition rate, so that a lot of ammonia is deposited close to the source. High emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in and around the major cities in the Netherlands are responsible for higher deposition in these areas.
The Dutch agricultural sector is, with 43 percent, the main contributor to eutrophying deposition in the Netherlands by far. About 67 percent of the deposition comes from Dutch sources.


The national average nitrogen deposition, also called eutrophying deposition, was, until the mid-1990s, between 2,500 and 3,000 mol nitrogen per hectare. This has steadily declined since 1994, to current levels. Annual variations in meteorological conditions can, with constant emission levels, result in fluctuations in deposition of up to 10 percent.
The reduction in nitrogen deposition since 1981 is due to lower emissions of both nitrogen oxides and ammonia.


Dutch policy focuses on those NECs that also implicitly achieve certain deposition levels. Specific policy is also being developed for the sustainable conservation of Natura 2000 areas within the framework of the Programmatic Approach to Nitrogen (PAS). The PAS also aims to link economic development to the achievement of the Natura 2000 nature objectives.


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Reference for this page

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2015). Eutrophying deposition, 1981-2012 (indicator 0189, version 12 , 19 February 2015 ). www.environmentaldata.nl. Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.

The Environmental Data Compendium is a partnership of CBS, PBL, RIVM and WUR.