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Simplified classification of hydrological terminology for phosphorus transfer

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Understanding the importance of surface and subsurface hydrological pathways is critical to effectively manage diffuse transfers of phosphorus (P) from agricultural soils. However, limited understanding of the complexities inherent within the hydrological regime and unfamiliarity with hydrological terminology, can sometimes be a source of confusion for agronomists and soil scientists concerned with P transfer. Consistent use of terminology can help eliminate confusion and the use of ambiguous terms such as runoff and leaching that are commonly misused. The hydrological terms and processes defined here are identified at the spatial and temporal scales where they occur, and the potential of vertical and lateral water flows for P transfer, both over and through the soil, are discussed.