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Food system resilience to phosphorus shortages on a telecoupled planet

Abstract : Agricultural trade and globalization pose new challenges for resource management and governance. In particular, many countries are dependent on imports of non-renewable mineral phosphorus (P) fertilizers for their agriculture. We propose a framework to assess the possible impacts of future disruptions in P resource availability by comparing countries' P fertilizer use for export production (virtual P) to their existing domestic P resources (labile soil P stocks and phosphate rock reserves). We find that up to 26% of global P fertilizer use is linked to exported crop and livestock commodities, creating complex resource interdependencies across countries. Vulnerabilities to P resource shortage may be moderated by existing domestic P resources in some countries, which could mitigate either short- or long-term impacts of fertilizer trade disruptions. However, greater coordination among trade partners that acknowledges and manages multiple forms of mineral P interdependencies is needed to provide resilient access to P inputs for national food supplies globally. Agricultural trade challenges resource management domestically and globally. This study finds that up to 26% of global phosphorus fertilizer use is tied to export crops and livestock commodities, suggesting trade partners will need to coordinate to buffer domestic food supplies from phosphorus shortages.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 21, 2021 - 10:17:15 AM
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Pietro Barbieri, Graham Macdonald, Antoine Bernard de Raymond, Thomas Nesme. Food system resilience to phosphorus shortages on a telecoupled planet. Nature Sustainability, Springer Nature, 2021, ⟨10.1038/s41893-021-00816-1⟩. ⟨hal-03498687⟩



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