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Origin and fate of phosphorus in the Seine watershed (France): Agricultural and hydrographic P budgets

Abstract : Phosphorus (P) sources (point and diffuse) in the human-impacted Seine basin (64,840 km2) were evaluated for the year 2000. An agricultural P budget showed that fertilizers represented 59% (20–25 kgP ha−1) of P inputs to the soils. A P surplus (2.5 kg P ha−1 y−1) contributed to P enrichment of the agricultural soils whose stocks amounted to 1800–5000 kgP ha−1. A hydrographic P budget showed that runoff (0.39–0.51 kgP ha−1) dominated the diffuse sources. These losses represented a very low percentage (0.01%) of the P stocks in soils and contributed to 19–25% of the total P inputs to the drainage network. Point sources remained the main source of P (75–81%), particularly in the downstream urbanized zone. Phosphorus retention in the river drainage network accounted for 9–15% of the total P inputs, indicating that it must not be ignored in large river P budget calculations. The Seine basin exported 8000 tP y−1 (44% as particulate P) to its estuary. The annual mean particulate P in suspended sediment at the outlet (2.9 gP kg−1) was fourfold greater than in headwaters and in rural zones. The similar increase of the particulate inorganic P/particulate organic P ratio in suspended sediment along the river continuum clearly indicated the increasing pressure of point sources. The close relation between P content of suspended sediment during the high-flow period and the P content of agricultural soils resulted in proposing a novel method to calculate the PP losses from runoff.
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Julien Nemery, Josette Garnier. Origin and fate of phosphorus in the Seine watershed (France): Agricultural and hydrographic P budgets. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, American Geophysical Union, 2007, 112 (G3), pp.G03012. ⟨10.1029/2006JG000331⟩. ⟨insu-00387866⟩

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