Marianne Bechmann

Research Professor

(+47) 412 19 506
marianne.bechmann@nibio.no

Place
Ås F20

Visiting address
Fredrik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430 Ås

Biography

Agricultural effects on water quality. Nutrient losses from agriculture and effects of mitigation measures to reduce nutrient losses. Monitoring of diffuse pollution from small agricultural catchments. Identification of critical source areas. Implementation of mitigation strategies. Estimation of cost-effectiveness of mitigation measures.

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Abstract

Identifying and ranking nutrient loss risk areas are important steps towards integrated catchment management. This study aimed to apply the P index model at the Posses catchment, south of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. We applied the P index for the current land use at the Posses catchment and for two hypothetical scenarios: scenario 1, in which P fertilizer was applied to all land uses, except for native forests; and scenario 2, which considered the use of P fertilizer as in scenario 1, and that the Environmental Protection Areas referring to the riparian forests and springs were totally restored. Considering current land use, almost the whole catchment area (91.4%) displayed a low P loss risk. The highest P index was associated to croplands and eucalyptus plantations. Regarding scenario 1, areas under pasture fell into the low (15.1%), medium (45.5%), high (27.1%) and very high (12.3%) P index categories. Environmental Protection Areas on scenario 2 decreased the P loss risk from the scenario 1 in 37.6%. Hence, the model outputs indicate that the reforestation of buffer zones can decrease P loss risk in the case increasing use of P fertilizer. The P index model is a potential support tool to promote judicious use of fertilizers and conservation practices at the Posses catchment.

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Abstract

In this paper, we estimate the cost-effectiveness of tillage methods as a measure to reduce phosphorus loss. The study was based on real-world information on costs. Data on phosphorus loss for different soil tillage methods were modelled. The cost-effectiveness of various soil tillage methods were related to autumn ploughing. The results showed large variation in cost-effectiveness related to erosion risk. Furthermore, spring harrowing was the most cost-effective method to reduce phosphorus loss, followed by autumn harrowing and spring ploughing in spring cereals. Implementation of changed tillage methods showed lower costs for spring cereals compared to winter wheat. The differences in costs between areas were most evident for spring tillage due to differences in yields and agronomic management. Cost-effectiveness is an important criterion in selecting mitigation methods, but due to large variations in the effect of changed tillage, these should be locally adapted to the high risk areas of erosion.

Abstract

Elevated nutrient concentrations in streams in the Norwegian agricultural landscape may occur due to faecal contamination. Escherichia coli (E. coli) has been used conventionally as an indicator of this contamination; however, it does not indicate the source of faecal origin. This work describes a study undertaken for the first time in Norway on an application of specific host-associated markers for faecal source tracking of water contamination. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on Bacteroidales host-specific markers was employed for microbial source tracking (MST) to determine the origin(s) of faecal water contamination. Four genetic markers were used: the universal AllBac (Bacteroidales) and the individual specific markers BacH (humans), BacR (ruminants) and Hor-Bac (horses). In addition, a pathogenicity test was carried out to detect the top seven Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups. The ratio between each individual marker and the universal one was used to: (1) normalise the markers to the level of AllBac in faeces, (2) determine the relative abundance of each specific marker, (3) develop a contribution profile for faecal water contamination and (4) elucidate the sources of contamination by highlighting the dominant origin(s). The results of the qPCR MST analyses indicated the actual contributions of humans and animals to faecal water contamination. The pathogenicity test revealed that water samples were STEC positive at a low level, which was in proportion to the concentration of the ruminant marker. The outcomes were verified statistically by coupling the findings of major contamination sources with observations in the field regarding local land use (residential or agricultural). Furthermore, clear correlations between the human marker and E. coli counts as well as the ruminant marker and STEC quantity in faecally contaminated water were observed. The results of this study have the potential to help identify sources of pollution for targeted mitigation of nutrient losses.

Abstract

The current IPCC guidelines define an estimate for the fraction of mineral fertilizer and animal waste (manure) lost to leaching and runoff (FracLEACH). The FracLEACH default is 30 %. In Norway, 18 % has been used based on calculations made in 1998 (Vagstad et al., 1998). The main purpose of this study was to give an updated estimate of nitrogen (N) leaching in relation to the amounts of N applied in agriculture (FracLEACH). The term losses in this report include both surface and subsurface runoff. The estimates of FracLEACH presented in this report were based on data from the Agricultural Environmental monitoring program (JOVA). The JOVA-program includes catchment and field study sites representing typical situations in Norwegian agriculture with regard to production system, management, intensity, soil, landscape, region and climate. Data from plot- scale study sites confirmed the level of N leaching from the agricultural areas within the JOVA catchments. The overall FracLEACH estimated in this study was 22 % of the N applied. This average covers a variation between sites from 16 % on grassland in Valdres to 44 % in intensive vegetable, potato and cereal production areas in the southernmost part of Norway. Runoff is the most significant parameter for the difference in FracLEACH between catchments. In addition, production system and to some degree soil type are important for FracLEACH. It is thus suggested to use different FracLEACH-values for the different production systems and adjust FracLEACH according to average runoff for the region.

Abstract

This report gives an overview of some characteristics of the Vansjø-Hobøl (Morsa) catchment in Southern Norway. The catchment is one of the most studied catchments in Norway in terms of water quality, partly because it has been a pilot project for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), partly because eutrophication and harmful algal blooms have been a problem in the latter years. Information from the catchment has until now been scattered in several different papers and reports, and most of these have been written in Norwegian.