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    Identifying critical source areas for phosphorus loss in Ireland using field and catchment scale ranking schemes
    Phosphorus (P) in agricultural runoff is a major pollutant in many of Ireland's surface waters. Identification of areas that are at a high risk for P loss to surface waters is a critical component of river basin management. Two P ranking schemes (PRS's) were developed for Ireland, based on multi-criteria analysis approaches proposed in both the US and Europe, to predict the relative likelihood of P loss at both the field and catchment scales. The Field PRS was evaluated by comparing predicted rankings of potential P loss and transport against measured edge-of-field Dissolved Reactive P (DRP) loss for three fields with varying soil P levels. Qualitatively, results indicated that the Field PRS rankings corresponded to the magnitudes of measured P loss for the field sites, as well as to a reasoned evaluation of the relative likelihood that the fields would lose P that would subsequently make its way to surface water. The Catchment PRS was evaluated on a total of 31 catchments and sub-catchments by comparing predicted rankings of potential P loss and transport against measured in-stream median Molybdate Reactive P (MRP). Rankings of the relative likelihood of P loss and transport predicted by the Catchment PRS were positively correlated with median in-stream MRP (r=0.51, P<0.05). Although the data available for these evaluations were limited, especially at field scale, and further research may identify the opportunity for modifications, both field and catchment scale P ranking schemes demonstrated a potential for identifying critical P source areas within catchments dominated by grass-based agricultural production systems, such as those in Ireland.
      667Scopus© Citations 32