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Arizona State University (2011)

Phosphorus Cycling in Metropolitan Phoenix

Metson, Genevieve Suzanne

Titre : Phosphorus Cycling in Metropolitan Phoenix

Auteur : Metson, Genevieve Suzanne

Université de soutenance : Arizona State University

Grade : M.S. Sustainability 2011

Phosphorus (P), an essential element for life, is becoming increasingly scarce, and its global management presents a serious challenge. As urban environments dominate the landscape, we need to elucidate how P cycles in urban ecosystems to better understand how cities contribute to — and provide opportunities to solve — problems of P management. The goal of my research was to increase our understanding of urban P cycling in the context of urban resource management through analysis of existing ecological and socio-economic data supplemented with expert interviews in order to facilitate a transition to sustainable P management. Study objectives were to : I) Quantify and map P stocks and flows in the Phoenix metropolitan area and analyze the drivers of spatial distribution and dynamics of P flows ; II) examine changes in P-flow dynamics at the urban agricultural interface (UAI), and the drivers of those changes, between 1978 and 2008 ; III) compare the UAI’s average annual P budget to the global agricultural P budget ; and IV) explore opportunities for more sustainable P management in Phoenix. Results showed that Phoenix is a sink for P, and that agriculture played a primary role in the dynamics of P cycling. Internal P dynamics at the UAI shifted over the 30-year study period, with alfalfa replacing cotton as the main locus of agricultural P cycling. Results also suggest that the extent of P recycling in Phoenix is proportionally larger than comparable estimates available at the global scale due to the biophysical characteristics of the region and the proximity of various land uses. Uncertainty remains about the effectiveness of current recycling strategies and about best management strategies for the future because we do not have sufficient data to use as basis for evaluation and decision-making. By working in collaboration with practitioners, researchers can overcome some of these data limitations to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of P dynamics and the range of options available to sustainably manage P. There is also a need to better connect P management with that of other resources, notably water and other nutrients, in order to sustainably manage cities

Mots Clés : Sustainability / Biogeochemistry / Natural Resource Management / agriculture / nutrient budget / phosphorus / resource management / sustainability / urban ecology


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Page publiée le 8 novembre 2012, mise à jour le 25 septembre 2019