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Mitigating Diffuse Phosphorus Transfer from Agriculture According to Cost and Efficiency

Haygarth, Philip and ApSimon, H and Betson, M and Harris, D and Hodgkinson, R and Withers, P.J.A (2009) Mitigating Diffuse Phosphorus Transfer from Agriculture According to Cost and Efficiency. Journal of Environmental Quality, 38 (5). pp. 2012-2022. ISSN 0047-2425

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Abstract

Potential options for mitigating phosphorus (P) transfer from agriculture to water in England and Wales (E&W) were collated across a range of farm systems to assess their potential effectiveness in reducing mass of P transferred and potential cost (pounds sterling [£]) to the farming industry. A simple model framework (called PEASE) incorporating a number of assumptions was used to identify 15 methods for mitigating inputs of P to agricultural systems, 19 methods for preventing mobilization of P, and six methods for controlling the transport of P to streams. The scope for largest reductions in P inputs was to grassland and horticulture. Potential reductions in P mobilization were up to 1.2 kg P ha−1. Reductions in P transfer associated with transport mitigation were larger than those associated with input and mobilization methods (up to 2.2 kg P ha−1). The largest estimated reductions were achieved by installing buffer zones and constructed wetlands, the former being very cost effective (£3–5 kg−1 P saved). Plots of cost curves helped identify where the combined and cumulative P transfer reductions were attainable; these were approximately 0.2 kg ha−1 for uplands, 0.6 kg ha−1 for outdoor pigs, 0.9 kg ha−1 for intensive dairy, and 2.2 kg ha−1 for arable examples. We concluded that established catchment-scale evidence for mitigation is sparse, especially for specific farm systems in E&W. Sensitivities and uncertainties in the approach, especially associated with expert coefficients, are noted. This approach is nonetheless considered useful for prioritizing where and how best options might be most effectively targeted for least cost but greatest benefit.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Environmental Quality
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 56155
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2012 11:20
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 23:52
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/56155

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