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Spatialization of appropriate and acceptable agricultural practices (SP3A)

Spatialization of appropriate and acceptable agricultural practices (SP3A)

Summary
Maintaining and restoring the regulation function of water and pesticides fluxes are particularly important issues in Mediterranean wine growing area because of the high risk of water contamination by runoff pollutants. Due to a high soil infiltration rate, this function provides a buffer against floods, erosion and potential pesticides transfers. Maintaining or restoring the function of regulation of the soil in a vineyard catchment involves the identification of soil management practices and their spatial distributions that contribute to the preservation or restoration of soil infiltration properties throughout the year. These practices should also be potentially acceptable for growers. Identifying these practices and their distribution implies to be able to assess their benefits and costs, ie: (1) the effects of those practices and of their spatial distribution on the soil's function to be preserved and (2) the constraints of implementation of these practices. Regarding these two points, the knowledge and modelling tools are still insufficient to achieve these assessments to the relevant spatial and temporal scales.
The objective of the project is to identify and evaluate in Mediterranean viticulture, soil management practices and spatial distributions of these practices that enable reduction the contamination of runoff waters by herbicides at the catchment scale. Those practices should be economically, technically and socially acceptable by growers.
The approach is based on the identification by experts of strategies, so called “candidate strategies”, to reduce the use of herbicides across the catchment. These strategies define (i) targets in terms of herbicide use intensity at the plot and catchment scales, (ii) soil management practices to achieve these targets, while reducing the risk of runoff and (iii) distribution rules of those practices between different vineyard plots in the catchment.
Those strategies were then subjected to a double evaluation. A first assessment of the environmental and production performances after implementation of these strategies was conducted at the catchment and/or plot scales. These evaluations were carried out using an original chain of models, some of which were developed during the project. A second assessment of the possibilities of changes of practices by the farmers was then conducted. The second evaluation was conducted based on interviews of a sample of farmers in the catchment.
The results of each of these assessments were compared to establish a balance of environmental and productive impacts of proposed strategies and provide avenues to choose new strategies best suited to the constraints of winegrowers. Both assessments converge on the issue of introducing more flexibility in the definition of strategies to reduce herbicide use as well as on the associated modalities of soil management practices associated.

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Contact
UMR Lisah (Patrick Andrieux)

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