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Global phosphorus retention by river damming

Maavara, T., Parsons, C.T., Ridenour, C., Stojanovic, S., Durr, H.H., Powley, H.R. ORCID: and Van Cappellen, P. 2015. Global phosphorus retention by river damming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112 (51) , pp. 15603-15608. 10.1073/pnas.1511797112

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Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for life. Humans have massively altered the global phosphorus cycle by increasing loading to river systems through fertilizer use, soil erosion, and wastewater discharges. River damming interacts with anthropogenic phosphorus enrichment by trapping a fraction of the phosphorus in reservoir sediments. We estimate that in 2000, 12% of the global river phosphorus load was retained in dam reservoirs. This fraction could increase to 17% by 2030, because of the construction of over 3,700 new dams. Although reservoirs represent a huge phosphorus sink, rising anthropogenic phosphorus emissions continue to outpace the addition of new retention capacity by river damming. The resulting growth in riverine phosphorus export likely contributes to the expanding eutrophication of surface waters worldwide.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
ISSN: 1111-0105
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 04:49

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