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Researchers develop the perfect recycled fertilizer for forests - saves 88% of energy normally used but still not legal

Finnish forests are typically nourished with fertilisers containing energy-intensive nitrogen and phosphorous mined in Morocco. Researchers have now developed an ecological alternative with ingredients sourced from a waste processing plant. It is good for forests and the environment – but legislation has to change first.
Camilla Inkeroinen ja Hanna Vanhanen
Camilla Inkeroinen and Hanna Vanhanen, part of the team developing the new fertilizer, on a compost heap at Labio, Lahti. Photo: Akseli Valmunen

Spurring the growth rate of forests is sensible not only from an economic perspective, but also environmentally. Over its lifecycle, a fertilised forest will bind up to 10,000 tonnes more carbon dioxide per hectare than an unfertilised forest. This amount equals the annual carbon footprint of the average Finn.

The artificial fertilisers applied in Finnish forests are, however, problematic: they are made with phosphorus, the majority of which is mined in Morocco, and fertiliser nitrogen that is very energy-intensive to manufacture.

An ecologically superior and – what’s best – domestic fertiliser alternative could be developed from existing nutrient flows, i.e. sourced from industrial and household wastes.

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Researchers develop the perfect recycled fertilizer for forests -- saves 88% of energy normally used but still not legal (external link)

Finnish forests are typically nourished with fertilisers containing energy-intensive nitrogen and phosphorous mined in Morocco. Researchers have now developed an ecological alternative with ingredients sourced from a waste processing plant. It is good for forests and the environment – but legislation has to be changed first.

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