Tools for Assessing Phosphorus Loss from Nordic Agriculture

The proceedings from the Nordic Phosphorus workshop, February 2004, address the role of decision tools in the process of abating phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural land in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Compliance with the Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires these countries to substantially reduce diffuse P losses from agricultural land. Uniform national reduction policies aimed solely at lowering P inputs to agricultural land are at best inefficient and at worst unsuitable for reducing diffuse P losses sufficiently over the next two decades. Instead high-risk areas for P losses in agricultural landscapes have to be targeted. The identification of high-risk areas and the administrative handling of mitigation strategies call for an objective risk assessment framework in the form of a decision and mitigation-planning tool. Such tools are viewed as an important step in the WFD process. A single conceptual framework for a P decision tool is expected to apply in the Nordic and Baltic countries, requiring though local adaptations. Researchers, landmanagers and landusers discuss the scope of different decision tools, practical experiences with assessing P loss, cost-effectiveness of mitigation and future developments in user-friendly tools for the Nordic and Baltic region.