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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

Third International Nitrogen Conference

Nanjing, P.R. China, October 12-16, 2004

More than 400 scientists, engineers, resource managers, and policy analysts from agriculture, animal nutrition, atmospheric chemistry and physics, biogeochemistry, environmental science, forestry, geology, soil science, and several other disciplines participated in the Third International Nitrogen Conference held at the Hilton Hotel in Nanjing, the People’s Republic of China, October 12-16, 2004. The theme of the conference was “Impacts of Population Growth and Economic Development on the Nitrogen Cycle: Consequences and Mitigation at Local, Regional, and Global Scales”. About 40 countries were represented. A 270-page Programme and Abstracts book was made available to the attendees at the time of registration. The delegates were welcomed by the Honorary Chair Zhu Chen (Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), the Honorary Vice Chair Fucheng Ma (Vice Director of the National Natural Science Foundation Committee of China), Baowen Zhang (Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture of China), and Taolin Zhang (Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province, China).

The goals of the conference were (1) Exchange and integrate scientific knowledge on sources, fates, and consequences of nitrogen at different scales, particularly in Asia (2) Stimulate discussions between scientists and policy makers, and explore a balanced strategy to increase food and energy production while protecting environmental quality and natural resources for future generations (3) Suggest an action plan to increase food and energy production while decreasing detrimental effects of reactive nitrogen on the environment.

The cutting-edge nitrogen science and policy issues were explored through plenary presentations (keynote addresses and other invited presentations featuring scientists of national and international prominence), concurrent sessions, round-table discussions, and poster sessions. The conference provided an opportunity to facilitate a dialogue amongst different research fields and the policy makers in an interdisciplinary setting. The following topics were discussed: (1) Centennial retrospect on the effects of increasing nitrogen at different scales and forecasting the future 30 years (2) Impacts of anthropogenic-altered nitrogen cycling on ecosystems at different scales and human health and forecasting the future 30 years (3) Mitigation options for the impact of nitrogen on the environment. The Nanjing Declaration on Nitrogen Management was presented at the conclusion of the conference on October 16. Signatories included Zhaoliang Zhu and Katsu Minami, Conference Co-Chairs and James Galloway, International Nitrogen Initiative Chair. The Declaration was presented to the United Nations Environment Programme.

The pre-conference tour on October 9-11 visited the Yangtze River delta region to investigate the agriculture and rural economy, urbanization and environment. The mid-symposium tour on October 14 included visits to the following places in Nanjing: Xiaoling Tomb, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum, and the Institute of Soil Science. There were two post-conference tours: (1) Beijing and (2) Yunnan tour including Kunming, Lijiang, and Dali. I took the Beijing tour (October 16-18). It included a trip to the Great Wall of China, Ming Tombs, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City. Weixin Ding, Zhao Zishi, and Hawk (our local tour guide) made it a very enjoyable and educational experience.

Picture taken at the Tiananmen Square during the post-conference tour of Beijing (The Forbidden City is in the background).

The conference was sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The co-sponsors were the China Association for Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, State Environmental Protection Administration of China, State Oceanic Administration of China, The Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The People’s Government of Jiangsu Province, China, National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Japan, the International Nitrogen Initiative, and Chisso Corporation, Japan.

The host organizations included the Soil Science Society of China, Institute of Soil Science (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, China. The co-organizing institutions included the Agronomy Society of China, Chinese Society of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer Science, Ecology Society of China, Environment Science Society of China, Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, North Carolina State University (USA), and University of Virginia (USA).

The Organizing Committee included Zucong Cai (China), Liqi Chen (China), Jan Willem Erisman (the Netherlands), Feng Feng (China), Bojie Fu (China), Shuqin Fu (China), James Galloway (USA), Huadong Guo (China), Anand Gupta (India), Yash Kalra (Canada), Mun-Hwan Koh (Korea), Jian Liu (China), Zhiquan Liu (China), Katsu Minami (Japan), Kilaparti Ramakrishna (USA), Kaj Sanders (The Netherlands), Stan Smeulders (the Netherlands), Changqing Song (China), Guangxi Xing (China), and Zhaoliang Zhu (China).

Prof. Guangxi Xing (Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Secretary-General and Prof. Zhaoliang Zhu (President, Soil Science Society of China) and Dr. Katsu Minami (Director General, National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Japan), Conference Co-Chairs are to be complimented on a successful conference. I am grateful to the Chinese Academy of Sciences for providing funds that enabled me to participate in this conference. I thank the Programme Committee for giving me the opportunity to chair Session 11-2. Impacts of human activities on nitrogen cycling in forestry ecosystems.

The First International Nitrogen Conference held in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands on March 23-27, 1998 was initiated by the scientists and policy makers of the Netherlands. The Second International Nitrogen Conference, held at Potomac, Maryland, USA on October 14-18, 2001, concentrated primarily on North America and Europe with a secondary focus on Asia. The Fourth International Nitrogen Conference will be held in Brazil in 2007.

Yash P. Kalra
Canadian Forest Service
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada