Pesticides Spark Broad Biodiversity Loss

Photo Credit:  Martin Cathrae Photo Credit: Martin Cathrae

A study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that agricultural pesticides have been linked to widespread invertebrate biodiversity loss. The researchers looked at the effects of pesticide use on the regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, such as mayflies and dragonflies, in Europe and Australia, and found up to 42% fewer species in highly contaminated streams than uncontaminated streams in Europe. These effects were even detected at concentrations that current legislation in Europe considers environmentally protective.  The study concludes that “the current ecological risk assessment of pesticides falls short of protecting biodiversity, and new approaches linking ecology and ecotoxicology are needed.”