Globally, livestock-related N2O emissions are estimated to total between 1 and 2 Tg N/year. Livestock produce only relatively minor amounts of N2O directly. Although some N2O can be produced in ruminant guts via the reduction of nitrate in livestock feed to NH3 and NH4; the very anoxic conditions in the gut mean that actual N2O production is likely to be very low.
Areas where livestock do have a large impact on N2O emissions are through initial production of their feed and through subsequent management of their waste. Livestock feed production, like human food production, often involves large applications of nitrogen-based fertilizers to agricultural soils. N2O production from animal wastes occurs during both storage and treatment, again by the processes of nitrification and denitrification. Additionally, N2O is indirectly produced via the volatilization of ammonia as discussed earlier.
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