Knowledge for better food systems

Special Issue: Future agriculture with minimized phosphorus losses to waters

The journal Ambio has a special issue devoted to minimised phosphorus losses from agriculture. The papers cover topics such as: the need for stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency in Europe; past, present, and future use of phosphorus in Chinese agriculture and its influence on phosphorus losses; and modelling of critical source areas for erosion and phosphorus losses.

Abstract for the introduction to the special issue

The series of papers in this issue of AMBIO represent technical presentations made at the 7th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW7), held in September, 2013 in Uppsala, Sweden. At that meeting, the 150 delegates were involved in round table discussions on major, predetermined themes facing the management of agricultural phosphorus (P) for optimum production goals with minimal water quality impairment. The six themes were (1) P management in a changing world; (2) transport pathways of P from soil to water; (3) monitoring, modeling, and communication; (4) importance of manure and agricultural production systems for P management; (5) identification of appropriate mitigation measures for reduction of P loss; and (6) implementation of mitigation strategies to reduce P loss. This paper details the major challenges and research needs that were identified for each theme and identifies a future roadmap for catchment management that cost-effectively minimizes P loss from agricultural activities.


Bergström, L.,  Aronsson, H., Djodjic, F., Ulén, B., Special Issue: Future agriculture with minimized phosphorus losses to waters, Ambio Volume 44, Issue 2 Supplement, March 2015

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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