An assessment of current and critical nitrogen and phosphorus losses from European agricultural soils

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

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Abstract

Since the early 1940s, European agriculture has intensified greatly, resulting in large inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to soil by fertilizers and manure. This has led to an increase in crop growth and soil fertility in terms of elevated N and P contents. However, the increased application of fertilizers and manure also induced adverse effects, such as: (i) loss of biodiversity in natural ecosystems due to increased emission and deposition of ammonia, (ii) increased levels of nitrogen in drinking water reservoirs due to leaching of nitrate to ground water and (iii) eutrophication of surface waters due to increased runoff of N and P. Main aim of this study therefore was to identify regions where N and P loads used for agricultural production lead to the adverse impacts listed above. This was assessed by comparing current N and P losses from agriculture with critical losses, calculated at a high spatial resolution for the entire European Union using the INTEGRATOR model. Current N and P losses were based on calculations using current detailed agronomic and biophysical data. Critical N and P losses were based on critical NH3 emissions, NO3 leaching rates, as well as N and P runoff rates. Critical NH3 emissions were related to national emission ceilings in view of biodiversity loss. Critical leaching and runoff levels were derived from critical N and P concentrations in view of drinking water quality and eutrophication, respectively. Calculated current (2010) N and P balances show that they are highly spatially variable and largely related to the livestock distribution. The critical P runoff to surface waters is most often exceeded followed by N runoff to surface waters and NO3 leaching to groundwater.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2015
EditorsTony Weber, Malcolm McPhee, Robert Anderssen
Pages1275-1281
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780987214355
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation: Partnering with Industry and the Community for Innovation and Impact through Modelling, MODSIM 2015 - Held jointly with the 23rd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research and the DSTO led Defence Operations Research Symposium, DORS 2015 - Broadbeach, Australia
Duration: 29 Nov 20154 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2015

Conference

Conference21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation: Partnering with Industry and the Community for Innovation and Impact through Modelling, MODSIM 2015 - Held jointly with the 23rd National Conference of the Australian Society for Operations Research and the DSTO led Defence Operations Research Symposium, DORS 2015
CountryAustralia
CityBroadbeach
Period29/11/154/12/15

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Leaching
  • N and P balances
  • NH emission
  • Nutrient losses

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  • Cite this

    Kros, J., de Vries, W., Römkens, P. F. A. M., & Voogd, J. C. (2015). An assessment of current and critical nitrogen and phosphorus losses from European agricultural soils. In T. Weber, M. McPhee, & R. Anderssen (Eds.), Proceedings - 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2015 (pp. 1275-1281). (Proceedings - 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, MODSIM 2015).