Nutrients are essential for plants and animals, but in excessive amounts they can lead to a significant decrease in soil and water quality. Nutrients can be introduced into the environment through fertilisers or other agrochemicals, and strict regulations have been adopted to limit their use. A new atlas, the work of the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES), provides for the first time a clear view on the pressure on eco-systems due to nutrients and their source. The atlas was the basis for identifying areas in Europe with the highest levels of nutrient pressure, which include large portions of The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, and Italy.
As the Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to provide EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support throughout the whole policy cycle. Working in close cooperation with policy Directorates-General, the JRC addresses key societal challenges while stimulating innovation through developing new methods, tools and standards, and sharing its know-how with the Member States, the scientific community and international partners.