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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #230719

Title: Agricultural Runoff: New Research Trends

item Flanagan, Dennis
item RAYA, A

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2008
Publication Date: 9/1/2009
Citation: Duran Zuazo, V.H., Rodriguez Pleguezuel, C.R., Flanagan, D.C., Raya, A.M., Francia Martinez, J.R. 2009. Agricultural Runoff: New Research Trends. In: Hudspeth, C.A., Reeve, T.E., editors. Agricultural Runoff, Coastal Engineering and Flooding. Hauppauge, New York. Nova Science Publishers. p. 27-48.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: There is public concern worldwide about the impact of agriculture on the environment and the migration of agrochemicals from their target to nearby terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and sometimes to the atmosphere and other times to the groundwater. To achieve the highest yields, farmers use many agrochemicals and practices, which frequently have repercussions for natural and/or semi-natural adjacent areas. Research is needed to identify the correct amount of fertilizers and the appropriate management to be applied in order to minimize non-target effects while allowing the farmers profitable yield from their land. Some agrochemicals can leave the agro-ecosystem by the runoff water, by the percolation of soil water or by evaporating into the atmosphere as gases. The recent awareness about the relationship between agricultural activities and non-point source pollution is also growing in many parts of the world. The challenge for farmers, land managers, and land users is to maintain the quality of surface waters and the health of biological communities by reducing and managing the amount of sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants in agricultural runoff. Making changes to land use or correcting past abuses is often expensive. A considerable amount of research is underway by organizations with a commitment to, or responsibility for, managing the effects of land-use practices on the environment. Studies have been made concerning land-use practices to reduce environmental impact, such as more efficient fertilizer use, sustainable grazing practices, fencing of riverbank access, and re-planting of vegetation along streams. Finally, research has supported a range of monitoring activities to determine the quantity and fate of agro-materials in agricultural runoff; this information is used to assess the health and status of agro-ecosystems and form a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of land-management practices to reduce threats.