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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 2, p. 439-444
    Received: Aug 18, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Phosphorus Loads from Selected Watersheds in the Drainage Area of the Northern Adriatic Sea

  1. M. Vighi *,
  2. S. Soprani,
  3. P. Puzzarini and
  4. G. Menghi
  1. Inst. of Agric. Entomology, Univ. of Milano, Via Celoria 2, I-20133 Milano, Italy;
    Public Health Service, Local Sanitary Unit, Via Alberoni 19, I-48100 Ravenna, Italy;
    Town Council of Cervia, I-48015 Cervia (RA), Italy.



The Po Valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in Europe and P losses from fertilizers are often accused of being among the main factors responsible for eutrophication of the Northern Adriatic Sea. To quantify nonpoint phosphorus loads in this area, 15 small watersheds were studied. Thirteen watersheds were in the intensive agricultural area near the coast and two watersheds were in the forested mountains. Land use in the watersheds was carefully examined and P loads from various sources were theoretically evaluated and experimentally measured. The results indicate fertilization does not increase the losses of P through leaching from the coastal soils, where the measured release were in the range 0.03 to 0.21 kg P/ha per year with a mean value of about 0.1 kg P/ha per year. There is, however, a greater loss of P through soil erosion from the mountain watersheds (0.6 kg/ha per year). It can be concluded that the control of point sources must take priority over nonpoint sources in efforts to reduce accelerated eutrophication of the Northern Adriatic Sea.

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