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A plot drainage network as a conceptual tool for the spatial representation of surface flow pathways in agricultural catchments

Abstract : The drainage network must take the farming systems and the landscape structure into consideration to describe flow pathways in the agricultural catchment. A new approach is proposed to build the drainage network which is based on the identification of the inlets and outlets for surface water flow on each farmers' field (or plot), estimating the relative areas contributing to the surface yield. The delineation of these areas and their links in terms of surface flow pathways provides us with a pattern of relationships between individual plots, i.e. going from each plot to the other plots over the entire catchment. In this approach, flow directions are firstly calculated in the usual way by taking account of slope direction. Plot outlets are defined from the DEM then linked together using a tree structure. If present, linear networks such as hedges modify both the flow directions and the location of plot outlets, hence modify this tree structure. In a final step, the plots are themselves linked together using a graph structure illustrated by an arrow diagram. This drainage network based on plot outlets is applied to a 15-km² catchment area represented by 38,300 pixels and 2,000 plots. This new drainage network takes into consideration 5,300 plot outlets, which greatly reduces the number of objects in comparison with a drainage network made up of pixels or DEM cells. This method leads to a simple and functional representation of surface flow pathways in an agricultural catchment. It allows us to identify the key plots controlling stream water pollution where converging flow pathways are coming from numerous or large-sized plots. Finally it produces a functional representation for decision support.
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Submitted on : Friday, September 23, 2011 - 4:53:31 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 18, 2022 - 4:13:31 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 2:25:40 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-00626175, version 1


Pierre Aurousseau, Chantal Gascuel, Hervé Squividant, Ronan Trépos, Florent Tortrat, et al.. A plot drainage network as a conceptual tool for the spatial representation of surface flow pathways in agricultural catchments. Computers & Geosciences, 2009, 35, pp.276-288. ⟨hal-00626175⟩



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