Global and regional phosphorus budgets in agricultural systems and their implications for phosphorus-use efficiency
Abstract. The application of phosphorus (P) fertilizer to agricultural soils increased by 3.2 % annually from 2002 to 2010. We quantified in detail the P inputs and outputs of cropland and pasture and the P fluxes through human and livestock consumers of agricultural products on global, regional, and national scales from 2002 to 2010. Globally, half of the total P inputs into agricultural systems accumulated in agricultural soils during this period, with the rest lost to bodies of water through complex flows. Global P accumulation in agricultural soil increased from 2002 to 2010 despite decreases in 2008 and 2009, and the P accumulation occurred primarily in cropland. Despite the global increase in soil P, 32 % of the world's cropland and 43 % of the pasture had soil P deficits. Increasing soil P deficits were found for African cropland vs. increasing P accumulation in eastern Asia. European and North American pasture had a soil P deficit because the continuous removal of biomass P by grazing exceeded P inputs. International trade played a significant role in P redistribution among countries through the flows of P in fertilizer and food among countries. Based on country-scale budgets and trends we propose policy options to potentially mitigate regional P imbalances in agricultural soils, particularly by optimizing the use of phosphate fertilizer and the recycling of waste P. The trend of the increasing consumption of livestock products will require more P inputs to the agricultural system, implying a low P-use efficiency and aggravating P-stock scarcity in the future. The global and regional phosphorus budgets and their PUEs in agricultural systems are publicly available at https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.875296.