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Home / netherlands / Former foreign minister Henk Bleker says "sorry" for the nitrogen crisis "we overestimate ourselves" – The Daily Standard

Former foreign minister Henk Bleker says "sorry" for the nitrogen crisis "we overestimate ourselves" – The Daily Standard

What exactly is the "nitrogen problem"?

The natural values ​​of health and sand are shifting and the effects of human action.
DGRK Nitrogen Beam

Because of the actuality of the "nitrogen discussion" and the law regarding the partial closure of our economy, we think it is important to place this issue in an objective perspective. Many articles have been made discussing the limitations of ammonia emissions (mostly by Jaap Hanekamp, ​​see for example here in 2015 or here in 2017 or here in 2018), but the current limitation concerns nitrogen compounds in general. How about that? What's this about, confused observers are wondering.

This contribution by Hugo Matthijssen was previously published in and lists this issue in a non-specific way. For the sake of accessibility, relevant nitrogen compounds are simplified to "nitrogen", realizing that they are nitrates, various nitrogen oxides, ammonia and so on.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, fertilizer supply from the fields around the village of Drenthe depended on pests and grazing. Sheep are used to graze land further from the village. At night, the sheep are taken to a stable, the bottom of which is covered with a layer of pests. Dirt is mixed with these pests and spread in the fields.

The country is still largely composed of wild land and as long as population pressure does not become too large, this is a system that can be applied to supply fields around the village with phosphate.

In this way, the topsoil of "malignant soil" located further from the village is gradually depleted, and vegetation is reduced to a number of species such as heathlands, plants and some grasses that require very poor soil.

Through agriculture and animal husbandry, such as sheep and goats, grazing and transfer of phosphate to horse stables produces large-scale forest land that has nothing to do with nature.

As the soil thinned and the sheep grazed at a greater distance from the villages, the land there was drained so much that it grew a little more and the wind grasped the sand. Sand floating around the village is a big problem. The fields and parts of the village regularly disappear under shifting sand. Life is almost impossible.

Land, heathland, and floating sand are the result of deteriorating land around the village. Farmers' work methods produce over-grazing, which is reinforced by population growth.

With the arrival of artificial fertilizer, "wild soil" became fertile again and by planting trees, drifting sand was gradually put back. The immediate consequence is that the heathland is transformed into fertile agricultural land.

Drenthe is becoming livable again, agriculture in development and the Staatsbosbeheer forests also get more and more control over the landscape, so that sand drift becomes a thing of the past.

Heather became rare again. Landscapes created by poor soils as a result of overgrazing and impoverishment gradually disappear. A landscape that grew in the last century that can only exist through the help of people who have difficulty keeping their heads above water.
Nitrogen What exactly is the nitrogen problem and the nitrogen problem?

by Jac P. Thijsse

At the beginning of the last century, Drenthe was known for his beautiful purple heather field described in Thijsse's book. Jacobus Pieter Thijsse 1865 – 1945 has a good picture of the last phase, he illustrates the health of broad flowers and makes beautiful pictures. The result is that heather is labeled "natural".

In the mid-80s, Drenthe made a number of decisions to restore health back to the landscape. A health movement was adopted which included the aim of bringing back the purple heather fields into the Drenthe landscape, which was only possible with the impoverishment of soils in and around the scarce health fields.

In Dwingeloo and in the Hooghalen neighborhood there are still some poor grasslands and fields and outside the area the area is intended for agriculture and animal husbandry.

The health movement stipulates that the Heathland fields must expand again because of the widening of the landscape and the purchase of land.

The foundation was also given the opportunity to buy the Drenthe landscape at a provincial cost and turn it into what is called new nature.

The effect of this is that many larger and smaller plots are scattered throughout Drenthe, including plantations and hunebeds, belonging to or management of the Drenthe Landscape Foundation.

And with that, the larger and smaller areas throughout Drenthe are defined as natural areas based on, inter alia, natural values ​​from, inter alia, the Heathland movement. The ownership of the foundation "Drenthe landscape" and thus its influence on the environment has grown strongly since the 1980s. Many larger and smaller plots must be avoided, also with regard to nitrogen emissions in the environment of these natural areas.
Property belonging to the Drenthe Landscape Foundation

In practice, this policy has a direct impact on most people.

Nitrogen is prohibited; farmers but also companies are bound by strict rules. Heather's field was expanded and "developed" again. Soil is depleted by removing the top layer and planting heather plants.

And what are you thinking about? to reduce the health of purple and even sand drifting as "existing and new nature"?

If we look at the period 1800 – 1930, all heathland is a direct result of impoverishment of the land through the grazing and transport of phosphate through sheep from the surrounding country to fields around the village. After 1980 health was maintained artificially and is now called a new trait. The only question is whether we will do it now.

Moorish and sand drifts are the result of human action and can only continue to exist through continuous impoverishment. Over the years heathland has always been poor with a pot machine.

Grazer is also used. This shows the Drenthe landscape: "Take a walk in the area of ​​The Landscape of Drenthe and you will meet them: Scottish Highlands, Limousin cattle, Drentse Heideschapen and Schoonebeker Heideschapen, who participate in the management of forest and pasture areas. Cows and sheep keep open land and ensure variation. "The source is here.

Nitrogen emissions in the environment are also curbed and the bush forest remains intact along with pots (artificial grazing) and grazing. If we stop this kind of activity, the heathland will return to grassy, ​​plants will begin to capture nitrogen from the air, and in this way other plants can grow that were originally here. Landscapes are made with forests and grassy plains. The original nature of the Netherlands.
Nitrogen is now seen as pollution

Across the Netherlands, we now limit our activities to monitor nitrogen to preserve "natural values," which are not natural.

The consequences for the economy are clear.

Nitrogen enters the atmosphere as a result of road traffic, air traffic, agriculture and industry. These can settle as dry or wet deposits and then have a fertilizing effect. This can have consequences for vegetation, plants, and through the structure and composition of vegetation as well as for birds and other animals. Parts of vegetation (in nature reserves) are sensitive to additional nitrogen deposition.
Important aspects of the Natura 2000 site assessment

With the model, the size and scope of additional settling can be mapped by new activities. An assessment can then be made to the extent to which flora, vegetation and fauna can suffer negative consequences. Nitrogen is currently an important aspect of the assessment of planned activities and plans around the Natura 2000 site.

Source here.

Anthropogenic (man-made) landscapes consisting of heathlands and sand drifts are called nature and recorded in natural values. Furthermore, more of this landscape was developed and it was called "new nature" and its preservation was only possible through continuous interventions such as teasing, grazing, and impoverishing the environment.

How far do we have to go, you wonder. One heathland is "beautiful", but to what extent should we continue to maintain and even expand large-scale heathlands under the guise of new traits? If we stop this policy, nature will again have the opportunity to develop itself and a landscape will be made consisting of forests interspersed with grasslands and, in some places, heathland and a piece of floating sand.

It's time to think about what we are doing. The Netherlands slowly stopped, economic activities such as development that had just taken place were being locked up again. Agriculture is seen as polluting and made almost impossible.

We are really busy delaying all economic activities.

The real problem is not solved. Take phosphate. Without phosphate, there is no agriculture and what we see now is large amounts of food for humans and feed (power) for imported livestock. That of course means surplus livestock manure and then we will see livestock manure as waste and ferment, etc. What we are doing now is on a large scale around the world the same as what farmers in the village of Drenthe did in 1880. The depletion of the soil is getting further and is producing manure. In areas where our feed and food plants originate, there is a huge phosphate deficit.

Now we can do something, dry out the dirt, process it and bring phosphate back to the fields where our food and food comes from.

Prof. Oene Oenema (from Wageningen University, ed.) Writes the following

"There is no food without phosphate. Our current food production is highly dependent on phosphate fertilizer, made from raw phosphate. Calculations show that raw phosphate has become scarce in generations. "The phosphate problem" is bigger than the energy problem, because there is no alternative to phosphate, "Oene Oenema said. Phosphate is very important for plants, humans and animals. Food production cannot be done without phosphate and that means that we must switch to reuse and drastically limit losses.This requires a big switch.Oenema wants to find ways to reuse phosphate efficiently in the food-consumption-production chain.Phosphate distribution (raw) and soil phosphate is very uneven in the world.Purpose fertilizer surplus in the Netherlands means that a lot of land agriculture is now rich in phosphate and that phosphate is still often seen as waste rather than valuable raw material.In Africa, on the other hand, soils are very low in phosphate, limiting food production.In Africa, the land screams for phosphate; more phosphate is needed there to increase food production. "

Look further here.

In summary: What is now called natural areas such as dwelling and drifting sand has only to do with nature as my backyard is laid out with color and flowering time.

Plants that live in soil that are poor in nutrients such as heathland can only grow on a large scale through artificial impoverishment of the soil. Calling this "natural" is a wrong view of reality. The Heather Field was created by humans and can only be maintained through depletion of artificial land through human action.
To maintain the artificial growth of this very large scale health garden, maintenance such as pests and grazing must be carried out and also by artificially reducing emissions from human activities.
Stopping the maintenance of large-scale health gardens means that the nature that is owned here and consists of grasslands interspersed with larger and smaller forests with associated biotopes will gradually get another chance.
Many developing realms have been completely overhauled in the past period to develop nature consisting of landscapes such as Heather.

If we use the resources currently used for the development and management of nature to process livestock manure and return it to our food and feed source area so that we create a real cycle globally, we contribute to the global balance in terms of phosphate use.

Limiting nitrogen to maintaining artificial health gardens is counterproductive and has nothing to do with natural management. Stopping that policy means that enough nitrogen only ends up in poor areas to get back to reality – the biotope that naturally arises here without human intervention. Heather is as natural as a wheat field.

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