Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 496764
Title Changes in phosphorus use and losses in the food chain of China during 1950–2010 and forecasts for 2030
Author(s) Bai, Zhaohai; Ma, Lin; Ma, Wenqi; Qin, Wei; Velthof, G.L.; Oenema, Oene; Zhang, Fusuo
Source Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 104 (2016)3. - ISSN 1385-1314 - p. 361 - 372.
Department(s) Chair Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality
Alterra - Sustainable soil management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Animal - Crop - Fertilizer - Losses - Scenario analysis - Socio-economic

China has become the largest mineral phosphorus (P) fertilizer consumer in the world, but current use is not sustainable. Here, we report on a quantitative analysis of the P use and losses in the food production–consumption chain and of their relationships with socio-economic indicators for the years 1950–2010. Pathways to a more sustainable P use in 2030 were explored through scenario analyses, using the Nutrient flows in Food chains, Environment and Resource use model. Non-linear relationships were observed between changes in P use and changes in gross domestic production (GDP), suggesting a decoupling of P use from the main economic driver. More or less linear relationships were observed between changes in P use and changes in the percentages of vegetable and fruit and animal derived food in human diets. Total P losses increased from 0.2 Tg in 1950 to 3.1 Tg in 2010, while P use efficiency in the food chain decreased from 35 % in 1950 to 6 % in 2010. Our estimates suggest that 79 Tg P has accumulated in agricultural soils, 16 Tg P accumulated in landfill, and 48 Tg P has leached or has been discharged to water bodies during the past 60 years. Most of the accumulation and discharges took place in the last 10 years. We analyzed five options for increasing P use efficiency in the food chain by 2030, i.e., balanced P fertilization in crop production, precision animal P feeding, improved manure management, diet changes, and the integration of these four options. The integral adoption of these four options will increase P use efficiency in the food chain from 6 % in 2010 to 26 % in 2030. Total mineral P fertilizer use will decrease by 69 % and P losses by 68 % relative to the business as usual scenario. In conclusion, current P fertilizer use and losses are coupled to dietary choices, but have become decoupled from GDP. Further decoupling may occur when P use is defined by science-based P requirements for crops, animals and humans.

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