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Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1480; doi:10.3390/su9091480

Deteriorated Water Quality of Agricultural Catchments in South China by Net Anthropogenic Phosphorus Inputs

1,2,* , 1,2
Changsha Research Station for Agricultural and Environmental Monitoring, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China
Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Regions, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 10049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Improper anthropogenic phosphorus (P) management is considered a major cause of water quality deterioration, however the relationship between anthropogenic P input and catchment water quality is rarely quantified in China. The study area encompassed eight small catchments with areas ranging from 58.6 to 13,442.4 ha in the subtropical region of South China. On-site observations of P concentrations, stream fluxes, and social investigation of P input were conducted over a 3-year period. The regional variations of net anthropogenic phosphorus inputs (NAPI) and responses of riverine P export were quantitatively analyzed. Results showed that the total NAPI of catchments varied from 11.04 to 40.52 kg P ha−1 year−1, where cropland systems (NAPIc) were the largest P sources, accounting for 47.7–67.7% in total. Meanwhile, net food and feed P input varied from 3.87 to 30.73 kg P ha−1 year−1, accounting for 35.0–75.8% in total, followed by fertilizer and non-food P input with 4.65–10.48 and 0.63–2.89 kg P ha−1 year−1, respectively. Riverine P export and the soil total P and Olsen–P contents in croplands were all positively related to NAPI (p < 0.05). A simple empirical model was simulated to predict the annual riverine total P fluxes using NAPIc with greater accuracy than with using NAPI or NAPI for residential land (NAPIr). Gray relational analysis suggested that livestock density was the most important influencing factor for NAPI. It is concluded from these results that, although the livestock accounted for the largest part of the NAPI, the cropland contributed the greatest to catchment riverine P export. This probably due to recycling of animal manure for plant cropping systems. Therefore, maintaining a reasonable scale of livestock production, and reducing the internal cycle of manure or replacing part of the chemical fertilizer should be a major approach in reducing NAPI and corresponding riverine P export in the study area. View Full-Text
Keywords: phosphorus; eutrophication; NAPI; livestock density; source catchment phosphorus; eutrophication; NAPI; livestock density; source catchment

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Meng, C.; Wang, Y.; Li, Y.; Zhou, J.; Li, Y.; Wu, J. Deteriorated Water Quality of Agricultural Catchments in South China by Net Anthropogenic Phosphorus Inputs. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1480.

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