Cover Texte 20/2015 Protection of terrestrial non-target plant species in the regulation of environmental risks of pesticides

Protection of terrestrial non-target plant species in the regulation of environmental risks of pesticides

Before a plant protection product is approved for placement on the market, an assessment of the overall acceptability of negative effects on non-target species in arable land and adjacent areas has to be performed according to European guidelines. The guideline for the risk assessment of non-target terrestrial plants (NTTP) is currently revised by the European Food Safety authority (EFSA) to integrate the current state of scientific knowledge and the new requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 to protect biodiversity. In the view of this revision, this report has been conducted to evaluate the actual scientific state of knowledge on effect- and risk assessment for non-target terrestrial plants and to recommend amendments of the current practice in testing and subsequent risk assessment of NTTP. The authors conclude that fundamental issues like the representativeness of the species tested (mostly crop species) and the ecotoxicological endpoints currently used (growth effects in juveniles) are associated with a high degree of uncertainty. These uncertainties must be taken into account in the risk assessment to ensure an adequate level of protection. Also, the analysis of data available would indicate, among other things, that the current risk assessment, limited to growth effects, might not be sufficient to ensure protection of non-target terrestrial plants. Therefore, as a simple risk management measure for PPP causing negative effects on NTTP communities, the authors propose to implement an obligatory in-field no-spray buffer zone, notably without herbicide application. Furthermore, the authors stress the importance of wild arable plants as natural life-support system for many other arable species. They highlight the key position of NTTP in the food chain with birds and mammals on the top. Based on their own research, the authors show indirect effects that PPP, such as herbicides, can have on food availability in agricultural landscapes. In the author’s opinion further applied research is needed to implement all this present information into a scheme for risk assessment and risk management which adequately protects biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, as well as ecosystem services based thereupon.

Texte | 20/2015
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Juliane Schmitz, Peter Stahlschmidt, Carsten A. Brühl
360 03 053
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