Australian sustainable phosphorus futures – Phase II: Adapting to future phosphorus scarcity

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73 pages
Code: 14-039
Published: 1 Aug 2014
Author(s): Dr. Dana Cordell, Nic Mikhailovich, Dr. Steve Mohr, Dr. Brent Jacobs, Prof. Stuart White
Contributor(s):
ISBN: 978-1-74254-655-1

Without adaptation to the way phosphorus is used and managed, global phosphorus scarcity could constrain Australian food production and global food security. As an essential nutrient in fertilisers for food production, phosphorus has no substitute. Australia and the world are currently dependent on phosphorus from finite phosphate rock reserves, which are becoming more expensive, scarce, difficult to access and geopolitically concentrated in only a few countries.

Limited research exists to help understand and explore the regional implications of phosphorus scarcity and inform adaptation in Australia and other countries. This analysis builds on earlier research that helps to understand the significant input and losses of phosphorus to the Australian food system. This research seeks to deepen our understanding of the phosphorus system and how it relates to Australian agriculture. The report identifies a range of factors influencing phosphorus supply and demand, and develops a framework for conceptualising and facilitating stakeholder dialogue on pathways on adapting to constrained phosphorus conditions and examining the economic, ecological, food security and rural livelihoods implications.