Agriculture is often responsible for the eutrophication of surface waters due to the loss of phosphorus—a normally limiting nutrient in freshwater ecosystems. Tile-drained agricultural catchments tend to increase this problem by accelerating the transport of phosphorus through subsurface drains both in dissolved (reactive and organic phosphorus) and particulate (particle-bound phosphorus) forms. The reduction of excess phosphorus loads from agricultural catchments prior to reaching downstream surface waters is therefore necessary. Edge-of-field technologies have been investigated, developed and implemented in areas with excess phosphorus losses to receive and treat the drainage discharge, when measures at the farm-scale are not able to sufficiently reduce the loads. The implementation of these technologies shall base on the phosphorus dynamics of specific catchments (e.g., phosphorus load and dominant phosphorus form) in order to ensure that local retention goals are met. Widely accepted technologies include constructed wetlands, restored wetlands, vegetated buffer strips and filter materials. These have demonstrated a large variability in the retention of phosphorus, and results from the literature can help targeting specific catchment conditions with suitable technologies. This review provides a comprehensive analysis of the currently used edge-of-field technologies for phosphorus retention in tile-drained catchments, with great focus on performance, application and limitations.
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