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Agricultural phosphorus regulation in Europe – Experience-sharing for 4 European countries

Phosphorus, widely used in agriculture, is mainly provided to crops by mineral fertilizers that come from phosphate rocks. The reserves of phosphate rocks are limited and unequally distributed on earth. The management of this resource is therefore crucial. Moreover, excessive use of fertilizers can contribute to water bodies’ pollution and can result in a phenomenon known as eutrophication.

The phosphorus issue is a growing topic. Currently, there isn’t any European Directive on the agricultural phosphorus to ensure its good management and use. Some regulatory frameworks exist but they do not regulate directly phosphorus. However, some European countries have a national legislation that aimed to regulate the agricultural phosphorus. It would be interesting to see how the question is handled in different countries. A bibliographic analysis on the agricultural phosphorus regulation were carried out, supplemented by interviews conducted in four European States: Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Italy.

Globally, the results show that regulatory framework in Europe is strongly heterogeneous. There is a diversity among the systems used to regulate phosphorus (nutrient balance, application standards). Some of those regulations, sometimes old, have been recently modified.

For each country studied, a sharing experience gives an overview of how the topic is treated and how it is perceived. 

Finally a french version of this study exists at this url adress :



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