To increase sustainability of agriculture, plants' adaptations to low P concentrations in soils should be taken better advantage of. With rising prices for P fertilizers, the use of P-solubilizing microorganisms and mycorrhiza and the breeding of cultivars with adapted root systems or exudation strategies are possible tools in maintaining or increasing productivity.

Past and present large inputs of P in agricultural systems lead to problems such as eutrophication and loss of biodiversity. P is probably not per se more significant for plant diversity than other nutrients. However, as a relevant limiting nutrient, it often (co-) determines the niches enabling species to grow. When P availability increases, plant diversity therefore often decreases. With global warming, P and N mineralization are stimulated. As both temperature and the amount of N have positive direct and indirect effects on soil P availability, global warming threatens phytodiversity via enhanced P availability. The effects of global warming on soil nutrients might lead to better conditions for fast-growing competitive and ruderal species, but in the longer run also to P mining. This could allow plant diversity to improve again.

However, long-term studies show that recovery of plant diversity may take a long time, especially after P addition, so that prevention of diversity loss due to increased P concentrations in the soil is preferable to later restoration measures.

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment