The future of phosphorus in our hands

J.G. Shepherd, Rosanna Kleemann, Jaleh Bahri-Esfahani, Lee Hudek, Lalith Suriyagoda, Elke Vandamme, K.C. van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We live in a global phosphorus (P) system paradox. P access is becoming increasingly limiting, leading to food insecurity but at the same time an over-application or abundance of P in many agricultural and urban settings is causing environmental degradation. This has been recognised in the academic literature and at regulatory levels, but swift action and multi-level cooperation of all stakeholders is required to ensure the economically, environmentally and socially responsible use of P. To provide foundations for future cooperation, a conceptual model describing the elements of P need, P availability and P use in different systems and at different scales was developed during the Young Scientists Workshop in P Week 2014 in Montpellier, France. Here we describe our extended conceptual model and a theoretical P balance calculation tool for describing multi-scale P balances and imbalances to impartially advise all stakeholders on more sustainable P use across the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
Pages (from-to)281-287
JournalNutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Conceptual model
  • Food security
  • P balance calculation tool
  • P conceptual model
  • Phosphorus paradox
  • Young Scientist Workshop

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