Sorption behavior and buffering of phosphorus (P) are important, both from an agricultural and an environmental point of view. The objectives of this study were to investigate: (1) the kinetics of the transfer of P from soil to soil solution and assessing P buffering capacity of soils (PBC), as a function of soil solution P; (2) the effect of PBC on soil P status fitted to environmental targets for water quality; (3) the effect of PBC on crop response. PBC was derived from the non-linear Q-I curve describing the time-dependent relationship between plant-available reserve of soil P (Q) versus soil solution P (I). The Q-I curve was determined in soil suspension using sorption and isotopic dilution methods for soil samples from French, Swedish, and Dutch field trials. Soils with low PBC values were more sensitive to the loss of P to the environment, required higher critical value in soil solution P to comply with P demand of maize, and had higher change in soil solution P per unit of P budget. In different soils, both the critical soil solution P for maize and the change in soil solution P per unit of P balance varied inversely with PBC. It is concluded that (1) PBC plays a key role in determining the agronomic and environmental threshold levels of available P content in the soils, and (2) PBC is a prerequisite for the development of more environmentally oriented fertilization recommendation systems.