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Agriculture biologique et qualité des ressources en eau dans le bassin de la Seine : caractérisation des pratiques et applications territorialisées

Abstract : The intensive agriculture characterizing the Seine watershed since half a century is based on the generalization of the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and by the rupture of the connection between crop and livestock systems. This system is nowadays compromising ground- and surface water quality, namely through nitrate contamination which mostly originates from agricultural losses. The implementation of technically proven and socially acceptable alternatives, allowing reconciling agricultural production and water quality preservation, encounters lots of obstructions of technical and social nature. From a technical point of view, sound reference data and rigorous indicators are lacking to assess the agronomical and environmental performance of alternative agro-systems. The first objective of this thesis is therefore to develop a sound conceptual framework to evaluate the productive capacity and the risk of nitrate lixiviation of agro-systems, through an improved version of the nitrogen soil surface balance. We first developed, based on a meta-analysis of the literature, robust relations to determine symbiotic nitrogen fixation by grain and forage legumes crops, which plays a central role in organic farming systems. We then could establish the relationship between total N fertilization, harvested yield and surplus of agro-systems, in order (i) to draw the trajectories of 124 countries over 50 years based on FAO data, and (ii) to compare the performance of the main organic crop rotations of the Seine basin and those of the conventional ‘reasoned’ agriculture. Finally, we established an empirical relationship linking N surplus, lixiviation and nitrate concentration in drainage water for arable land and permanent grassland. We show in a second part of this thesis how this conceptual framework of analysis can be useful in particular territories to highlight and guide stakeholder action, as well as to make more credible some alternatives which can feed the necessary transition toward more sustainable agro-systems. We analyze the situation of the drinking water abstraction areas of La Plaine du Saulce, supplying the city of Auxerre (Burgundy) as well as that of Flins-Aubergenville, supplying the western part of Paris agglomeration. We elaborate alternative scenarios for these regions, going much farther than the mere improvement of agricultural practices, and taking into account the peculiar geographical and hydro-geological context of each study case.
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Juliette Anglade. Agriculture biologique et qualité des ressources en eau dans le bassin de la Seine : caractérisation des pratiques et applications territorialisées. Sciences de la Terre. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015PA066102⟩. ⟨tel-01189101⟩

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