Managing phosphorus in terrestrial ecosystem: a review

  • Gaurav Mishra Rain Forest Research Institute, Jorhat, Assam, 785001, India
  • Sovan Debnath Central Institute of Temperate Horticulture, Regional Center, Mukteshwar, Nainital, Uttarakhand, 263 138, India
  • Deepa Rawat Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture , G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, 263 145, India
Keywords: Ecosystems, P dynamics, Organic P, Inorganic P, Land use, Litter, Soil microbes


Increasing human population placed stress on the environment, as well as shifting in land use pattern to increase food production, significantly influence the dynamics of soil organic matter and associated nutrients (phosphorus) in terrestrial ecosystems. This review is based on the published work carried out in recent years and critically examines how the P cycling occurs within different terrestrial ecosystems, possible mechanisms involved in its transformation from one form to another and gaps to be investigated. In terrestrial ecosystems P mainly occurs as phosphate ion; generally precipitated with Ca, Al and Fe under varying pH conditions and become relatively immobile in soils. In agricultural fields, change in inorganic (Pi) and organic (Po) phosphorus are attributed due to fertilization and tillage while in forest and grasslands it is the matter of litter addition and its decomposition by microbes. Afforestation of grassland enhances the mineralization of organic matter and P availability through higher microbial activity, production of low molecular weight organic acids and root associations of mycorrhizae. Phosphorus losses primarily occur due to export in the form of erosion and product removal from ecosystem. Heavy export of P from terrestrial ecosystem accelerated the problem of eutrophication. Future studies should be focused on efficient practices to increase the use of accumulated surface P, estimating P bioavailability in soil and improved methods of runoff control to control P export into aquatic ecosystems. Optimization of practices and exploring novel approaches for sustainable production will maintain the enduring supply of this globally limited nutrient and reduce environmental consequences.



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How to Cite
Mishra, G.; Debnath, S.; Rawat, D. Managing Phosphorus in Terrestrial Ecosystem: A Review. European Journal of Biological Research 2017, 7, 255-270.
Review Articles