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Assessing the risk of phosphorus transfer to high ecological status rivers: Integration of nutrient management with soil geochemical and hydrological conditions

Roberts, W.M., Gonzalez-Jimenez, J.L., Doody, D.G., Jordan, P. and Daly, K. (2017) Assessing the risk of phosphorus transfer to high ecological status rivers: Integration of nutrient management with soil geochemical and hydrological conditions. Science of The Total Environment, 589 . 25 - 35. [Journal article]

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URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971730459X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.02.201


Abstract Agriculture has been implicated in the loss of pristine conditions and ecology at river sites classified as at �high ecological status� across Europe. Although the exact causes remain unclear, diffuse phosphorus (P) transfer warrants consideration because of its wider importance for the ecological quality of rivers. This study assessed the risk of P loss at field scale from farms under contrasting soil conditions within three case-study catchments upstream of near-pristine river sites. Data from 39 farms showed P surpluses were common on extensive farm enterprises despite a lower P requirement and level of intensity. At field scale, data from 520 fields showed that Histic topsoils with elevated organic matter contents had low P reserves due to poor sorption capacities, and received applications of P in excess of recommended rates. On this soil type 67 of fields recorded a field P surplus of between 1 and 31 kg ha� 1, accounting for 46 of fields surveyed across 10 farms in a pressured high status catchment. A P risk assessment combined nutrient management, soil biogeochemical and hydrological data at field scale, across 3 catchments and the relative risks of P transfer were highest when fertilizer quantities that exceeded current recommendations on soils with a high risk of mobilization and high risk of transport as indicated by topographic wetness index values. This situation occurred on 21 of fields surveyed in the least intensively managed catchment with no on-farm nutrient management planning and soil testing. In contrast, the two intensively managed catchments presented a risk of P transfer in only 3 and 1 of fields surveyed across 29 farms. Future agri-environmental measures should be administered at field scale, not farm scale, and based on soil analysis that is inclusive of {OM} values on a field-by-field basis.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Phosphorus, Agriculture, High ecological status, Nutrient management, Soil type, Organic matter
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Geography and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Environmental Sciences Research Institute
Environmental Sciences Research Institute > Freshwater Sciences
ID Code:37101
Deposited By: Professor Phil Jordan
Deposited On:07 Mar 2017 12:41
Last Modified:02 Mar 2018 23:23

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