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Managing nutrients to mitigate soil pollution

Bruulsema, Tom
Environmental pollution 2018 v.243 pp. 1602-1605
agricultural productivity, agricultural soils, air, bioavailability, crop quality, ecosystem services, human health, human population, industry, nutrients, pollutants, pollution control, soil degradation, soil pollution, soil quality
The health of soils is key not only to agricultural productivity, but to all the ecosystem services provided in terms of maintaining the quality of water, air, and food. Nutrient inputs to agricultural soils produce large benefits to human health, including the provisioning of calories and protein supporting at least half the human population, enhancing micronutrient bioavailability in food, improving crop quality, and strengthening tolerance to plant disease. With appropriate nutrient stewardship, such inputs contribute to soil health and prevent soil degradation. When mismanaged and applied inappropriately, either mineral or organic sources of nutrients can become pollutants both in soils and in water and air. The solution being embraced by industry and governments around the world is the implementation of principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, ensuring that the right source of nutrient is applied at the right time, in the right place and at the right rate.