Press release, October 2nd 2007
First forecast of the ecological risks associated with plant protection products in Europe
Leipzig. Plant protection products used in agriculture can pose an ecological risk to the fauna of small streams and rivers. The risk that can arise when plant protection products are washed away by precipitation events is much higher in agricultural landscapes in Southern Europe than in Central and Northern Europe.
Regions in Spain, Italy and southern France are particularly at risk, but watercourses in England, Belgium and parts of central Germany - in the north of Thuringia, in the south of Saxony-Anhalt and in the mountainous areas of central Saxony - are at risk as a result of the use of plant protection products in agriculture.
These are the
findings published by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in the latest issue of the reputable journal
Science of the Total Environment. The Leipzig-based researchers have modelled the input of plant protection products and the resultant
ecological risk to the fauna of small streams and rivers for the 15 "old" EU states. The forecasts were then checked by means of field
studies in Finland, France and Germany.
"Our aim was to identify in a timely and cost-effective manner potential risk regions for which it would make sense to carry out detailed modelling or measurement programmes," says Carola Schriever from the UFZ. "A model like this can be very useful, for instance when planning larger monitoring programmes, such as those required for the implementation of the EU's Water Framework Directive."
Schriever, C.A., Liess, M. (2007):
Mapping ecological risk of agricultural pesticide runoff.
Science of the Total Environment. Volume 384 (2007): 264-279.
Mapping ecological risk of agricultural pesticide runoff
Schäfer, R.B., Caquet, T., Siimes, K., Mueller, R., Lagadic, L. & M. Liess: Effects of pesticides on community structure and ecosystem functions in agricultural streams of three biogeographical regions in Europe. Science of the Total Environment. 382, 2-3, 272-285.
Dr. Matthias Liess
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ / Head of the Department System Ecotoxicology
phone +49 (0)341 235-2329
Dr. Maththias Lies, UFZ
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Tilo Arnhold / Doris Böhme
phone +49 (0)341 235 2278
European research project HAIR