Blog Posts Antti Iho Agriculture, Economy, Environment

Phosphorus mediated eutrophication of surface waters is a persistent problem causing significant welfare losses around the world, for instance, the Lake Erie, Chesapeake Bay or the Baltic Sea. Managing agricultural phosphorus loading has proven to be extremely difficult – the management arsenal lacks silver bullets. The web of relationships between different forms of phosphorus, manure management of the livestock sector, historical deposits of phosphorus in agricultural soils and the ebb and flow of phosphorus in sediments all feed into the complexity of the problem.

Daring the daunting task, researchers at Luke have been collaborating with their peers from other countries to share knowledge and find ways that balance agricultural and environmental objectives. Joint work with Chesapeake Bay protection has been particularly fruitful, finding its concrete forms in a research article comparing the institutions, policies and efficiency of Baltic Sea and Chesapeake Bay protection and in joint work with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) of the Chesapeake Program. Researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Penn State have contributed to Baltic Sea protection through NutriTrade (the Central Baltic programme) and Go4Baltic (BONUS) projects. At the end conference of the latter, Professor James Shortle from Penn State emphasized the importance and potential of grass roots research cooperation between the Baltic Sea and the important water areas in the U.S. – a call echoed in many presentations and discussions. I completely agree.

We bring together a group of phosphorus authorities to reflect upon the state-of-the-science, compare local findings with those from elsewhere in the world, and identify gaps in research that have impeded our solutions to sustainable phosphorus management.

Hence – as one of the last actions of the Go4Baltic project, jointly with the Agricultural Research Service (USA), Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (Northern Ireland), SLU (Sweden), and the Norwegian Life Sciences University and Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy Research, we are organizing a Northern European Phosphorus Tour for about fifteen researchers from the U.S., New Zealand, Denmark and the host countries. We bring together a group of phosphorus authorities to reflect upon the state-of-the-science, compare local findings with those from elsewhere in the world, and identify gaps in research that have impeded our solutions to sustainable phosphorus management. In each country, we will learn about local concerns and research focusing phosphorus management priorities.

Luke will organize the activities in Finland. In our visit to Pyhäjärvi foundation, we will discuss manure management, the role of fisheries in eutrophication management and local, cooperative solutions for environmental protection. The second day will be spent mainly visiting the massive gypsum pilot in the Savijoki basin, the most important single factor that triggered the vary Tour. On Friday’s workshop we will discuss potential and the role of science in business initiated environmental protection. We also have the chance to enjoy the reception hosted by the U.S Embassy in Helsinki later in the evening. The weekend is for voluntary tours to various targets in, hopefully sunny, Helsinki.

For more information regarding the Finnish part of the trip, contact antti.iho@luke.fi or riikka.venesjarvi@luke.fi

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