Identifying potential strategies in the key sectors of China’s food chain to implement sustainable phosphorus management: a review

Guohua Li, Gaoqiang Huang, Haigang Li, M.K. van Ittersum, P.A. Leffelaar, Fusuo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

High extraction of phosphate reserves and low phosphorus utilization efficiency in the food chain in China result in large P losses and serious environmental pollution. The P fertilizer industry, soil P surplus, livestock manure P and wastewater P recycling have been identified as the priority sectors based on summarizing several systemic and in-depth reviews of P flows analysis. Mineral P fertilizer production has reached 7.4 Mt P in 2012, which is more than seven times the value in 1980. The large P surpluses in arable land resulted in soil P accumulation of up to 64 Mt during the period 1951–2010. Livestock numbers have increased dramatically (more than ten times) during the period 1949–2012 in China, especially pigs and poultry, and so has the quantity of manure that they produce. The average loading of manure P on arable land in China has increased significantly from 9.5 kg P ha−1 in 1980 to 20.4 kg P ha−1 in 2010. Up to 0.49 Mt of wastewater P discharged without treatment also exerted great pressure on the environment in 2012. Based on an understanding of P interactions in these key sectors, an integrated set of policy options and technical measures is proposed. Taking P flows in China in 2010 as an example, if all of the strategies recommended in this study are adopted in P management, about 4.3, 2.5, 1.6 and 0.3 Mt of P resources, respectively, will be saved in the P fertilizer industry, arable land production, livestock manure and wastewater sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-359
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Volume104
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Management strategies
  • Manure
  • Phosphate reserves
  • Phosphorus surplus
  • Wastewater

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