Global phosphorus losses due to soil erosion

Global average phosphorus (P) losses due to soil erosion in kg ha−1 yr−1. Thus we combine the most recent spatially distributed global soil erosion estimates with global P content of cropland soils (data also available for P content)
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The world’s food production depends directly on phosphorus. However, this plant nutrient is not unlimited, but comes from finite geological reserves. How soon these reserves might be exhausted is the subject of scholarly debate. An international research team led by led by the University of Basel [with the participation of the JRC, INRA (FR), UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Kangwon National University (South Korea)] has investigated which continents and regions worldwide are suffering the greatest loss of phosphorus. The researchers combined high-resolution spatially discrete global data on the phosphorus content of soils with local erosion rates. Based on this, they calculated how much phosphorus is lost through erosion in different countries. 
An important conclusion of the study is that more than 50% of global phosphorus loss in agriculture is attributable to soil erosion. Africa, Eastern Europe and South America register the greatest phosphorus losses – with limited options to mitigate the problem. 
P loss for arable soils, due to erosion by water, globally of approximately 5.9 kg ha-1. In Europe those losses are much less (1.2 kg ha-1) mainly due to higher input fertilizer and less erosion. The highest phosphorus losses are found in soils of Africa (9.7 kg ha-1) as it is not possible to afford the high costs of chemical fertilizer and in South America (6.1 kg ha-1).
Main datasets
Study area: We cover 1.04 billion ha of global cropland with a resolution of 0.5°×0.5° based on the land-use harmonization data.
Main dataset: Global average phosphorus (P) losses due to soil erosion in kg P ha-1 yr-1.
Spatial coverage: World  (1.04 billion ha - Arable lands)
Pixel size: 0.5° latitude x 0.5° longitude
Measurement Unit: kgP ha-1 yr-1 .
Projection: regular
Temporal coverage:  2012
In addition, we also provide the the total land cover (and the study area part) with the % expessing how much is the fraction of croplands in the pixel. The datasets are the maps illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2 of the associated publication (Alewell et al., 2020. Nature Comm).
Alewell, C., Ringeval, B., Ballabio, C., Robinson, D.A., Panagos, P., Borrelli, P. 2020. Global phosphorus shortage will be aggravated by soil erosion. Nat Commun 11, 4546.

Input datasets

Title: Soil P pools and soil P budget terms
Description: These files provide soil P pools in top soil layer (0-30cm) of cropland for 2005 as well as soil P budget terms derived from farming practices (chemical fertilizer, manure, residue, uptake) and atmospheric deposition. Soil P pools in 2005 result from past soil P budget, past land use and cover change, and soil dynamics. The modelling approach used to compute soil P pools are described in Ringeval et al. (2017).
Spatial coverage: World 
Pixel size: 0.5° latitude x 0.5° longitude
Measurement Unit: kgP ha-1 for soil P pools and kgP ha-1 yr-1 for soil P budget terms.
Projection: regular
Temporal coverage:  2005
Data: They are included in this data package


Title: Global soil erosion
Description: In this study 202 countries are included with more than 125 million Km2. The total soil loss has been estimated to 35.9 Pg yr-1 . The datasets  are described in Borrelli et al. (2017).
Spatial coverage: World 
Pixel size: 25km x 25km
Measurement Unit: t ha-1 yr-1
Projection: GCS_WGS_1984
Temporal coverage:  2012

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