• Improving the phosphorus budget of European agricultural soils

    Phosphorus budget per each region as kg P ha−1. The vertical bars show the annual sum of P inputs (violet) and outputs (green) per country (expressed in tonnes).

    Panagos, P.a, Köningner, J.a, Ballabio, C.a, Liakos, L.a, Muntwyler, A.a, Borrelli, P.b , Lugato, E.a, 2022. Improving the phosphorus budget of European agricultural soils. Science of The Total Environment 158706. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.158706

    a European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
    b Department of Science, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy

    Despite phosphorus (P) being crucial for plant nutrition and thus food security, excessive P fertilization harms soil and aquatic ecosystems. Accordingly, the European Green Deal and derived strategies aim to reduce P losses and fertilizer consumption in agricultural soils. The objective of this study is to calculate a soil P budget, allowing the quantification of the P surpluses/deficits in the European Union (EU) and the UK, considering the major inputs (inorganic fertilizers, manure, atmospheric deposition, and chemical weathering) and outputs (crop production, plant residues removal, losses by erosion) for the period 2011–2019.

    The Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) topsoil data include measured values for almost 22,000 samples for both available and total P. With advanced machine learning models, we developed maps for both attributes at 500 m resolution. We estimated the available P for crops at a mean value of 83 kg ha−1 with a clear distinction between North and South. The ratio of available P to the total P is about 1:17.

    The inorganic fertilizers and manure contribute almost equally as P inputs (mean 16 ± 2 kg P ha−1 yr−1 at 90 % confidence level) to agricultural soils, with high regional variations depending on farming practices, livestock density, and cropping systems. The P outputs came mainly from the exportation by the harvest of crop products and residues (97.5 %) and, secondly, by erosion. Using a sediment distribution model, we quantified the P fluxes to river basins and sea outlets.

    In the EU and UK, we estimated an average surplus of 0.8 kg P ha−1 yr−1 with high variability between countries with some regional variations. The P annual budget at regional scale showed ample possibility to improve P management by both reducing inputs in regions with high surplus (and P soil available) and rebalancing fertilization in those at risk of soil fertility depletion.

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  • Global rainfall erosivity projections for 2050 and 2070

    Panagos, P.a, Borrelli, P.b, Matthews, F.a, Liakos, L.a, Bezak, N.c, Diodato, N.d, Ballabio, C.a, 2022. Global rainfall erosivity projections for 2050 and 2070. Journal of Hydrology 610, 127865. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.127865

    aEuropean Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
    bDepartment of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy
    cUniversity of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, Ljubljana, Slovenia
    dMet European Research Observatory – International Affiliates Program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Benevento, Italy

    The erosive force of rainfall (rainfall erosivity) is a major driver of soil, nutrient losses worldwide and an important input for soil erosion assessments models. Here, we present a comprehensive set of future erosivity projections at a 30 arc-second (∼1 km2) spatial scale using 19 downscaled General Circulation Models (GCMs) simulating three Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) for the periods 2041–2060 and 2061–2080. The future rainfall erosivity projections were obtained based on a Gaussian Process Regression (GPR) approach relating rainfall depth to rainfall erosivity through a series of (bio)climatic covariates. Compared to the 2010 Global Rainfall erosivity baseline, we estimate a potential average increase in global rainfall erosivity between 26.2 and 28.8% for 2050 and 27–34.3% for 2070. Therefore, climate change and the consequential increase in rainfall erosivity is the main driver of the projected + 30–66% increase in soil erosion rates by 2070.

    Our results were successfully compared with 20 regional studies addressing the rainfall erosivity projections. We release the whole dataset of future rainfall erosivity projections composed of 102 simulation scenarios, with the aim to support further research activities on soil erosion, soil conservation and climate change communities. We expect these datasets to address the needs of both the Earth system modeling community and policy makers. In addition, we introduce a modeling approach to estimate future erosivity and make further assessments at global and continental scales.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Leonidas Liakos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.