Phosphorus mining: using agriculture for nature restoration

  • Challenge: Disrupted phosphorus (P) cycles with surpluses in countries with intensive livestock farming. Excess P-stocks in the soil hinder restoration of species-rich habitat types such as flower-rich grasslands, which are important for sustaining native pollinator communities.
  • Effective solution: P-mining

What we do

Restoring meadow ecosystem

Crops are grown and harvested to remove phosphorus from soils, which is called P-mining. We assess the attainability of P-mining with pot and field experiments in close collaboration with practitioners.

Experiments include tests with biological and chemical soil additions, as well as specific crop rotations to maximize P-removal.

Additionally, we compare effectiveness of phosphorus mining with current restoration techniques.

The obtained knowledge will be used to develop guidelines for practitioners in ecological restoration.