Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 834–845, 2004

Special issue: Assessing nitrogen dynamics in European ecosystems: integrating...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 834–845, 2004

  31 Aug 2004

31 Aug 2004

Towards a nutrient export risk matrix approach to managing agricultural pollution at source

C. J. M. Hewett1, P. F. Quinn1, P. G. Whitehead2, A. L. Heathwaite3, and N. J. Flynn2 C. J. M. Hewett et al.
  • 1School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
  • 2Aquatic Environments Research Centre, Department of Geography, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB, UK
  • 3Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK
  • Email for corresponding author:

Abstract. A generic Nutrient Export Risk Matrix (NERM) approach is presented. This provides advice to farmers and policy makers on good practice for reducing nutrient loss and, hopefully, persuades them to implement such measures. Combined with a range of nutrient transport modelling tools and field experiments, NERMs can play an important role in reducing nutrient export from agricultural land. The Phosphorus Export Risk Matrix (PERM) is presented as an example NERM. The PERM integrates hydrological understanding of runoff with a number of agronomic and policy factors into a clear problem-solving framework. This allows farmers and policy makers to visualise strategies for reducing phosphorus loss through proactive land management. The risk of pollution is assessed by a series of informed questions relating to farming intensity and practice. This information is combined with the concept of runoff management to point towards simple, practical remedial strategies which do not compromise farmers’ ability to obtain sound economic returns from their crop and livestock.

Keywords: nutrients, phosphorus, export, risk, decision support, matrix