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A spatial approach to identify priority areas for pesticide pollution mitigation

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Identifying priority areas is an essential step in developing management strategies to reduce pesticide loads in surface water. A spatially explicit model-based approach was developed to detect priority areas for diffuse pesticide pollution at catchment scale. The method uses available datasets and considers different pesticide pathways in the environment post-application. The approach was applied in a catchment area in SE Flanders (Belgium) as a case study. Calculated risk areas were obtained using detailed landscape data and combining pesticide emissions and hydrological connectivity. The risk areas obtained were further compared with an alternative observation-based method, developed specifically for this study site that includes long-term field observations and local expert knowledge. Both methods equally classified 50% of the areas. The impact of crop rotation on the calculated risk was analysed. High-risk areas were identified and added to a cumulative map over all five years to evaluate temporal variations. The model-based approach was used for the initial identification of risk areas at the study site. The tool helps to prioritise zones and detect particular fields to target landscape mitigation measures to reduce diffuse pesticide pollution reaching surface water bodies.
Journal: Journal of Environmental Management
ISSN: 0301-4797
Volume: 246
Pages: 583 - 593
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Environmental science & technology