Mapping for the management of diffuse pollution risks related to agricultural plant protection practices: case of the Etang de l'Or catchment area in France.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 May; 25(14):14117-14137.ES
Faced with health, environmental, and socio-economic issues related to the heavy use of pesticides, diffuse phytosanitary pollution becomes a major concern shared by all the field actors. These actors, namely the farmers and territorial managers, have expressed the need to implement decision support tools for the territorial management of diffuse pollution resulting from the plant protection practices and their impacts. To meet these steadily increasing requests, a cartographic analysis approach was implemented based on GIS which allows the spatialization of the diffuse pollution impacts related to plant protection practices on the Etang de l'Or catchment area in the South of France. Risk mapping represents a support-decision tool that enables the different field actors to identify and locate vulnerable areas, so as to determine action plans and agri-environmental measures depending on the context of the natural environment. This work shows that mapping is helpful for managing risks related to the use of pesticides in agriculture by employing indicators of pressure (TFI) and risk on the applicator's health (IRSA) and on the environment (IRTE). These indicators were designed to assess the impact of plant protection practices at various spatial scales (field, farm, etc.). The cartographic analysis of risks related to plant protection practices shows that diffuse pollution is unequally located in the North (known for its abundant garrigues and vineyards) and in the South of the Etang de l'Or catchment area (the Mauguio-Lunel agricultural plain known for its diversified cropping systems). This spatial inequity is essentially related to land use and agricultural production system. Indeed, the agricultural lands cover about 60% of the total catchment area. Consequently, this cartographic analysis helps the territorial actors with the implementation of strategies for managing risks of diffuse pollution related to pesticides use in agriculture, based on environmental and socio-economic issues and the characteristics of the natural environment.