A new detailed map of total phosphorus stocks in Australian soil
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Accurate data are needed to effectively monitor environmental condition, and develop sound policies to plan for the future. Globally, current estimates of soil total phosphorus (P) stocks are very uncertain because they are derived from sparse data, with large gaps over many areas of the Earth. Here, we derive spatially explicit estimates, and their uncertainty, of the distribution and stock of total P in Australian soil. Data from several sources were harmonized to produce the most comprehensive inventory of total P in soil of the continent. They were used to produce fine spatial resolution continental maps of total P in six depth layers by combining the bootstrap, a decision tree with piecewise regression on environmental variables and geostatistical modelling of residuals. Values of percent total P were predicted at the nodes of a 3-arcsecond (approximately 90m) grid and mapped together with their uncertainties. We combined these predictions with those for bulk density and mapped the total soil P stock in the 0-30cm layer over the whole of Australia. The average amount of P in Australian topsoil is estimated to be 0.98tha-1 with 90% confidence limits of 0.2 and 4.2tha-1. The total stock of P in the 0-30cm layer of soil for the continent is 0.91Gt with 90% confidence limits of 0.19 and 3.9Gt. The estimates are the most reliable approximation of the stock of total P in Australian soil to date. They could help improve ecological models, guide the formulation of policy around food and water security, biodiversity and conservation, inform future sampling for inventory, guide the design of monitoring networks, and provide a benchmark against which to assess the impact of changes in land cover, land use and management and climate on soil P stocks and water quality in Australia.
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