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Ambio. 2018 Jan;47(Suppl 1):3-19. doi: 10.1007/s13280-017-0968-9.

Handling the phosphorus paradox in agriculture and natural ecosystems: Scarcity, necessity, and burden of P.

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Department of Soil Science, Faculty for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, Justus-von-Liebig Weg 6, 18059, Rostock, Germany.
Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde, Seestraße 15, 18119, Rostock, Germany.
Landscape Ecology and Site Evaluation, University of Rostock, 18059, Rostock, Germany.
Forschungsstelle Nachhaltigkeit und Klimapolitik, Könneritzstraße 41, 04229, Leipzig, Germany.
Department of Crop Production, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Justus-von-Liebig Weg 6, 18059, Rostock, Germany.
ETH Zurich, Research Station in Plant Sciences, Eschikon, 8315, Lindau, Switzerland.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK.
Leibniz Science Campus Phosphorus Research Rostock c/o, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, Seestr. 15, 18119, Rostock, Germany.
P-REX Environment, Am Goldmannpark 43, 12587, Berlin, Germany.
Department of Soil Physics, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, Justusvon-Liebig Weg 6, 18059, Rostock, Germany.
Department of Environment, Soils and Landuse, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
Baltic Sea Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW), Seestrasse 15, 18109, Rostock, Germany.
Phosphorus Atlas Research Institute, Waseda University, Wakamatsu-cho 2-2, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0056, Japan.
Water Management, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Satower Strasse 48, 18059, Rostock, Germany.


This special issue of Ambio compiles a series of contributions made at the 8th International Phosphorus Workshop (IPW8), held in September 2016 in Rostock, Germany. The introducing overview article summarizes major published scientific findings in the time period from IPW7 (2015) until recently, including presentations from IPW8. The P issue was subdivided into four themes along the logical sequence of P utilization in production, environmental, and societal systems: (1) Sufficiency and efficiency of P utilization, especially in animal husbandry and crop production; (2) P recycling: technologies and product applications; (3) P fluxes and cycling in the environment; and (4) P governance. The latter two themes had separate sessions for the first time in the International Phosphorus Workshops series; thus, this overview presents a scene-setting rather than an overview of the latest research for these themes. In summary, this paper details new findings in agricultural and environmental P research, which indicate reduced P inputs, improved management options, and provide translations into governance options for a more sustainable P use.


Cropping system; Eutrophication; Fertilizer; Governance; P efficiency; Plant nutrition

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