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Contrasting soil property patterns between ditch bed and neighbouring field profiles evidence the need of specific approaches when assessing water and pesticide fate in farmed landscapes

Abstract : Farm ditch networks, infrastructures designed to regulate excess water in cropped landscapes, constitute pesticide dispersal pathways or buffer zones, depending on their soil properties. Despite the key role that ditch soils play in the regulation of water and pesticide fate, their properties, especially in intermittently flooded ditches, remain poorly characterized. Therefore, our aim was to evaluate the specificity of ditch material properties to determine whether ditches require an approach that differs from that of field soils when studying water and pesticide fate in farmed landscapes. We thus analysed the variations in the pedological, herbicide sorption and flow properties of soil materials along a 2D cross-section of an intermittently flooded ditch in the Roujan catchment of southern France. We found that the upper part of the ditch bed soil profile is composed of 3 horizons that formed after the original creation of the ditch, most likely via the deposition of field-eroded particles and the accumulation of organic matter. These specific horizons have greater porosity, mostly due to their dense root systems, and contain up to 2 times more organic carbon than the neighbouring banks or field soils. Consequently, the hydraulic conductivity is greater, and the sorption of hydrophobic herbicides is up to 2 times greater in ditch bed materials than it is in soils located farther away from the ditch surface. Moreover, significant macroporal flow was evidenced in both profiles but with different contribution to the global flow. The contrasts in the hydrodynamic and sorption properties between both the ditch bed and banks materials likely results in significantly different water and pesticide infiltration patterns in ditches compared to crop fields. Given these differences, we recommend investigating the specific properties of ditch beds when studying and modelling water and pesticide fate in croplands.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 12:35:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 10:54:03 AM

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Jeanne Dollinger, Cécile Dagès, Anatja Samouëlian, Guillaume Coulouma, Marthe Lanoix, et al.. Contrasting soil property patterns between ditch bed and neighbouring field profiles evidence the need of specific approaches when assessing water and pesticide fate in farmed landscapes. Geoderma, Elsevier, 2018, 309, pp.50-59. ⟨10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.09.006⟩. ⟨hal-02624794⟩

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