The scarcity of phosphorus (P) is a global concern that is not restricted to western industrialized nations. Until now, most countries in the world are highly dependent on importing mineral P fertilizers for agriculture. The industrialized nation of Germany, the emerging economy of Costa Rica, and the developing country of Nicaragua are examined with regard to their legislation in the field of environmental protection and agriculture, in particular with regard to soil protection and fertilizer law. Based on the structure of agriculture in each country, control weaknesses in legislation in the individual countries, which is largely determined by command-and-control law, are identified and compared. It becomes clear that soil protection in all three countries has not yet been adequately standardised in law and at the same time the efficient use of organic or recycled P fertilizers instead of (finite) mineral P fertilizers is inadequately regulated. In particular, frugality, i.e., the strategy of lower (and not only more efficient) consumption of P fertilizers, has so far played no regulatory role in land-use governance.
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