Science - January 28, 2010

Pesticides hamper recovery of biodiversity on farmland

Since the early nineties the EU has implemented policies to reduce the dramatic negative effects of the use of pesticides on farmland. Nevertheless, a Europe wide study showed that insecticides and fungicides still had major negative effects on wild plant and animal species on arable farms.

The Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group - together with eight other universities in West and Eastern Europe - investigated the effects of intensive farming on wild plant and animal species and the potential for biological pest control. The study showed that a two-fold increase in agricultural production was associated with the loss of half of the plant species and one third of the carabid and breeding bird species. Moreover, there were significant negative effects on the capacity for biological control, measured by the number of introduced aphids taken by natural predators.
The original article can be found here.