Phosphorus and the future
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The approach taken here to considering these changes, and their probable effects on what remains of ‘natural’ plant populations, is to first consider what is known of plant-phosphorus interactions before man’s influences became significant, with current anthropogenic phosphorus mobilization now equaling natural processes (Tilman et al. 2001, 2002). This will give an appreciation of what plants, defined in the broad, non-phylogenetic sense as organisms that can produce oxygen by photosynthesis, did under natural conditions of phosphate supply, with an emphasis on biogeochemistry and evolution. Such considerations provide an evolutionary background of how plants from various habitats deal with changes in phosphate availability.
This background will then be used to reconsider how man’s activities in response to the forcing factors mentioned above (human population increase, exhaustion of mineral phosphate reserves, global environmental change) must be conditioned by the biogeochemistry of phosphate and the evolutionary history of crops. Finally, an attempt is made to assess priorities for action.
KeywordsGlobal Environmental Change Marine Phytoplankton Cluster Root Phosphate Deficiency rRNA Content
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