Time-Continuous Phosphorus Flows in the Indian Agri-Food Sector: Long-Term Drivers and Management Options

Keil L, Folberth C, Jedelhauser M, & Binder CR (2017). Time-Continuous Phosphorus Flows in the Indian Agri-Food Sector: Long-Term Drivers and Management Options. Journal of Industrial Ecology DOI:10.1111/jiec.12560. (In Press)

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Project: Effects of phosphorus limitations on Life, Earth system and Society (IMBALANCE-P, FP7 610028)

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is a major agricultural nutrient and, in its mineable form, a potentially scarce resource. Countries with limited physical access to P should hence develop an effective national P governance. This requires analyses of trends and variations in P flows and stocks over time. Here, we present a long-term P flow analysis for the Indian agri-food sector from 1988 to 2011. Major P flows are imports of mineral P, fertilizer application, and uptake of animal fodder. The mineral P import dependency ratio is constant at around 93%. On average, 20% of P inputs to soils are lost through erosion. Key drivers of changes in P flows include population growth, dietary change, and agricultural intensification. To reduce its P fertilizer import dependence, India could, for example, substitute up to 19% of the presently applied mineral P if manure used as a household fuel were recycled, and up to 21% if P was fully recovered from wastewater and household waste. Comparing selected indicators for P use in agriculture with China and the European Union (EU) reveals that there are structural similarities, such as increasing fertilizer application rates and P accumulation in soils, with the first but large differences compared to the latter. The analyses highlight that in contrast to static indicators, the time-continuous tracking of P flows provides substantial advantages, such as the identification of long-term trends, drivers, and intervention options for sustainable P management, given that it allows for the interpretation of present indicators in the context of past trends and legacies.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 09:38
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 10:47
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14462

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