The Natural History of Slapton Ley Nature Reserve XVIII: nitrogen and phosphorus losses from the catchment - an export coefficient modelling approach

Penny J. Johnes, P. E O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Nitrogen and phosphorus losses from the catchment of Slapton Ley, a small coastal lake in SW England, were calculated using an adaptation of a model developed by Jorgensen (1980). A detailed survey of the catchment revealed that its land use is dominated by both permanent and temporary grassland (respectively 38 and 32% of its total area), and that the remainder is made up of the cultivation of cereals and field vegetables, and market gardening. Livestock numbers in the catchment constitute ca. 6600 head of cattle, 10,000 sheep, 590 pigs, 1700 poultry and 58 horses. The permanent human population of the area is ca. 2000, served by two small gravity-fed sewage treatment works (STWs). Inputs to, and losses from, farmland in the catchment were computed using Jorgensen?s model, and coefficients derived from the data of Cooke (1976), Gostick (1982), Rast and Lee (1983) and Vollenweider (1968). Allowing for outputs from STWs, the total annual external load of N and P upon Slapton Ley is 160 t (35 kg ha-1) a-1 N, and 4.8 t (1.05 kg ha-1) a-1 P. Accordingly to Vollenweider (1968, 1975), such loadings exceed OECD permissible level by a factor of ca. 50 in the case of N, and ca. 5 in that of P. In order to reduce nutrient loads, attention would need to be paid to both STW and agricultural sources.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)287-309
Number of pages23
JournalField Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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