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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Implementing agricultural phosphorus science and management to combat eutrophication

Kleinman, Peter; Sharpley, Andrew; Withers, P.J.A.; Bergström, Lars; Johnson, Laura T; Doody, Donnacha G


Experience with implementing agricultural phosphorus (P) strategies highlights successes and uncertainty over outcomes. We examine case studies from the USA, UK, and Sweden under a gradient of voluntary, litigated, and regulatory settings. In the USA, voluntary strategies are complicated by competing objectives between soil conservation and dissolved P mitigation. In litigated watersheds, mandated manure export has not wrought dire consequences on poultry farms, but has adversely affected beef producers who fertilize pastures with manure. In the UK, regulatory and voluntary approaches are improving farmer awareness, but require a comprehensive consideration of P management options to achieve downstream reductions. In Sweden, widespread subsidies sometime hinder serious assessment of program effectiveness. In all cases, absence of local data can undermine recommendations from models and outside experts. Effective action requires iterative application of existing knowledge of P fate and transport, coupled with unabashed description and demonstration of tradeoffs to local stakeholders.


Eutrophication; Mitigation measures; No till; Phosphorus management; Tile drainage

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2015, Volume: 44, number: Suppl 2, pages: S297-S310
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Management
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


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