A Practical Method for Mapping of Pesticide Loss Risk in Cultivated Soils of Greece
In an attempt to map the soil factors controlling pesticide losses, surface soil samples were collected from 196 sites in the cultivated area of Trifyllia, SW Peloponnese, Greece. Up to now, the pesticide losses risk in the studied area is unknown. For this aim, the following key characteristics that affect movement or binding have been taken into consideration: soil texture, slope and soil organic matter content. A GIS map was compiled from discrete soil variables that affect pesticide losses (leaching and/or runoff). According to soil texture, 3 moderate leaching risk classes, 2 high and 1 low were defined, and the respective classes based on Soil Organic Matter (SOM) content were 3 low risk classes, 2 moderate and 1 class of high risk. The study area consists of two soil slope classes 0-2% and 2-6% which were used to calculate the leaching potential of pesticides. The compiled maps can be used by local authorities in order to minimize the potential negative environmental impacts of pesticide usage at farm level, and to suggest various mitigation strategies. Appropriate farming practices must be applied to decrease leaching or losses by runoff in order to mitigate the pollution of shallow aquifers and surface waters in SW Peloponnese. Rational irrigation management is of high importance as it increases the pesticide effectiveness and reduces off site movement. Moreover, runoff of pesticides can be reduced by using minimum tillage techniques to mitigate soil erosion. Finally, farming systems and practices that increase soil organic matter content (e.g. no tillage) can reduce substantially the risk of water pollution by pesticides.
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