Implementing agricultural phosphorus science and management to combat eutrophication

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology


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