Phosphorus is getting depleted due to soil erosion
Phosphorus is essential for agriculture, yet this important plant nutrient is increasingly being lost from soils around the world. The primary cause is soil erosion, reports an international research team led by the University of Basel. The study in the journal Nature Communications shows which continents and regions are most strongly affected.
The world's food production depends directly on phosphorus. However, this plant nutrient is not unlimited, but comes from finite geological reserves.
It is still unclear when exactly phosphorus for global agriculture will run out. New large deposits were discovered a few years ago in Western Sahara and Morocco, although how accessible they are is questionable. In addition, China, Russia, and the US are increasingly expanding their influence in these regions, which suggest that they might also control this important resource for global future food production. Europe has practically no phosphorus deposits of its own.