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Global phosphorus shortage will be aggravated by soil erosion

Alewell, Christine; Ringeval, Bruno; Ballabio, Cristiano; Robinson, David A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7290-4867; Panagos, Panos; Borrelli, Pasquale. 2020 Global phosphorus shortage will be aggravated by soil erosion. Nature Communications, 11, 4546. 12, pp. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18326-7

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Abstract/Summary

Soil phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural systems will limit food and feed production in the future. Here, we combine spatially distributed global soil erosion estimates (only considering sheet and rill erosion by water) with spatially distributed global P content for cropland soils to assess global soil P loss. The world’s soils are currently being depleted in P in spite of high chemical fertilizer input. Africa (not being able to afford the high costs of chemical fertilizer) as well as South America (due to non-efficient organic P management) and Eastern Europe (for a combination of the two previous reasons) have the highest P depletion rates. In a future world, with an assumed absolute shortage of mineral P fertilizer, agricultural soils worldwide will be depleted by between 4–19 kg ha−1 yr−1, with average losses of P due to erosion by water contributing over 50% of total P losses.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18326-7
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agriculture, biogeochemistry, geography, geomorphology, sedimentology
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 14 Sep 2020 11:44 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/528467

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