Use of pesticides in special areas of conservation

The European Union created Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect 900 named species on sites managed to support their ecological needs. However, agricultural land use is permitted in these areas, raising the question of pesticide impact on the protection targets.

Data resources used via GBIF : 4,400 species occurrences (estimate)
European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis)

European Pond Turtle (Emys orbicularis) by Daniele Seglie via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The European Union created Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect 900 named species on sites managed to support their ecological needs. However, agricultural land use is permitted in these areas, raising the question of pesticide impact on the protection targets. Based on data from GBIF and other sources, researchers created a species-specific risk index for the reptiles that inhabit SACs and evaluated occurrence probability, physiology, and life-history aspects. The results showed that half of the species at above-average risk by pesticide use are already on the IUCN Red List and that all SAC turtle species are at high risk—findings that argue for the inclusion of pesticide risk assessments in future SAC management plans. 

Citations

Wagner N, Mingo V, Schulte U and Lötters S (2015) Risk evaluation of pesticide use to protected European reptile species. Biological Conservation. Elsevier BV, 667–673. Available at doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.08.002.

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