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Eutrophication is when there is a disproportionately large input of nutrients into a watercourse causing excessive plant growth and decomposition The decomposers of the plants multiply due to the abundant food source creating a lack of oxygen in the water from respiration This affects higher trophic levels such as fish and birds resulting in an overall reduction in the biodiversity and value of the water body The Environment Agency 1998 defines eutrophication as the enrichment of waters by inorganic plant nutrients which results in the stimulation of an array of symptomatic changes These include the increased population of algae andor other aquatic plants affecting the quality of the water and disturbing the balance of organisms present within it Phosphorus is the main limiting factor for growth in water bodies Sources and InputsPhosphorus us one of the three nutrients that a plant needs most of nitrogen and potassium are the others for growth so is often added to the soil within fertiliser manure and guano Cordell 2008 P has to be in orthophosphate form for plants to take it up so more than 80 of the phosphate is unavailable for plants The available P is also reduced by adsorption precipitation or conversion to organic phosphorus which means its bound to some plant or animal tissue Holford 1997 Worldwide around 148 million tonnes of phosphate rock are used for agriculture Smil 2000 with 14kg ha-1 being sprayed on average over England and Wales Haygarth 1998 P is spread onto the fields so it is no longer a limiting factor in plant growth to create higher yields increase farmers profits and food security When P is used on fields as either fertiliser or manure to increase soil fertility it can be removed by either wind or water The wind erosion of soil is only an important factor in areas where soil texture landscape features and crop growth leave the soil vulnerable to strong winds this problem does not
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