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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Definition of sustainable and unsustainable issues in nutrient management of modern agriculture

Bergstrom L, Bowman BT, Sims JT


Sustainable management of nutrients in agricultural systems is critical for sufficient production of nutritious foods and to minimize environmental pollution. In this overview, we discuss some of the most important factors influencing nutrient cycling, and how practices for sustainable nutrient management can be optimized. In most cases, problems are associated with excessive use of nutrients (manures, other organic amendments, and inorganic fertilizers). Options for dealing with such problems at the farm level include: reducing nutrient inputs to balance exports, increasing the land area on which manures are applied, and export of excess nutrients from the farm in the form of value-added products. These strategies can be used singly, or in combination. Nutrients in the human food chain are often not recycled back to primary crop production. To manage such issues, and avoid regional nutrient accumulations, we need to develop a better understanding of large-scale nutrient flows, and develop policies to manage them. We stress the importance of scale when considering nutrient management in the future

Published in

Soil Use and Management
2005, Volume: 21, pages: 76-81

      SLU Authors

    • Bergström, Lars

      • Department of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)