Topping, Chris J., Craig, Peter S., de Jong, Frank, Klein, Michael, Laskowski, Ryszard, Manachini, Barbara, Pieper, Silvia, Smith, Robert H., Sousa, José Paulo, Streissl, Franz, Swarowsky, Klaus, Tiktak, Aaldrik and van der Linden, Ton (2015) Towards a landscape scale management of pesticides: ERA using changes in modelled occupancy and abundance to assess long-term population impacts of pesticides. Science of The Total Environment, 537. pp. 159-169. ISSN 00489697

Pesticides are regulated in Europe and this process includes an environmental risk assessment (ERA) for non-target arthropods (NTA). Traditionally a non-spatial or field trial assessment is used. In this study we exemplify the introduction of a spatial context to the ERA as well as suggest a way in which the results of complex models, necessary for proper inclusion of spatial aspects in the ERA, can be presented and evaluated easily using abundance and occupancy ratios (AOR). We used an agent-based simulation system and an existing model for a widespread carabid beetle (Bembidion lampros), to evaluate the impact of a fictitious highly-toxic pesticide on population density and the distribution of beetles in time and space. Landscape structure and field margin management were evaluated by comparing scenario-based ERAs for the beetle. Source-sink dynamics led to an off-crop impact even when no pesticide was present off-crop. In addition, the impacts increased with multi-year application of the pesticide whereas current ERA considers only maximally one year. These results further indicated a complex interaction between landscape structure and pesticide effect in time, both in-crop and off-crop, indicating the need for NTA ERA to be conducted at landscape- and multi-season temporal-scales. Use of AOR indices to compare ERA outputs facilitated easy comparison of scenarios, allowing simultaneous evaluation of impacts and planning of mitigation measures. The landscape and population ERA approach also demonstrates that there is a potential to change from regulation of a pesticide in isolation, towards the consideration of pesticide management at landscape scales and provision of biodiversity benefits via inclusion and testing of mitigation measures in authorisation procedures.

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