Soil phosphorus budget in global grasslands and implications for management (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: Available online 21 April 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments
Author(s): Quanlai Zhou, Stefani Daryanto, Zhiming Xin, Zhimin Liu, Minghu Liu, Xue Cui, Lixin Wang
Grasslands, accounting for one third of the world terrestrial land surface, are important in determining phosphorus (P) cycle at a global scale. Understanding the impacts of management on P inputs and outputs in grassland ecosystem is crucial for environmental management since a large amount of P is transported through rivers and groundwater and detained by the sea reservoir every year. To better understand P cycle in global grasslands, we mapped the distribution of different grassland types around the world and calculated the corresponding P inputs and outputs for each grassland type using data from literature. The distribution map of P input and output revealed a non-equilibrium condition in many grassland ecosystems, with: (i) a greater extent of input than output in most managed grasslands, but (ii) a more balanced amount between input and output in the majority of natural grasslands. Based on the mass balance between P input and output, we developed a framework to achieve sustainable P management in grasslands and discussed the measures targeting a more balanced P budget. Greater challenge is usually found in heavily-managed than natural grasslands to establish the optimum amount of P for grass and livestock production while minimizing the adverse impacts on surface waters. This study provided a comprehensive assessment of P budget in global grasslands and such information will be critical in determining the appropriate P management measures for various grassland types across the globe.