Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland

F. Geiger, J. Bengtsson, F. Berendse, W.W. Weisser, M. Emmerson, M.B. Morales, P. Ceryngier, J. Liira, T. Tscharntke, C. Winqvist, S. Eggers, R. Bommarco, T. Pärt, V. Bretagnolle, M. Plantegenest, L.W. Clement, C. Dennis, C. Palmer, J.J. Oñate, I. Guerrero & 8 others V. Hawro, T. Aavik, C. Thies, A. Flohre, S. Hänke, C. Fischer, P.W. Goedhart, P. Inchausti

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Abstract

During the last 50 years, agricultural intensification has caused many wild plant and animal species to go extinct regionally or nationally and has profoundly changed the functioning of agro-ecosystems. Agricultural intensification has many components, such as loss of landscape elements, enlarged farm and field sizes and larger inputs of fertilizer and pesticides. However, very little is known about the relative contribution of these variables to the large-scale negative effects on biodiversity. In this study, we disentangled the impacts of various components of agricultural intensification on species diversity of wild plants, carabids and ground-nesting farmland birds and on the biological control of aphids. In a Europe-wide study in eight West and East European countries, we found important negative effects of agricultural intensification on wild plant, carabid and bird species diversity and on the potential for biological pest control, as estimated from the number of aphids taken by predators. Of the 13 components of intensification we measured, use of insecticides and fungicides had consistent negative effects on biodiversity. Insecticides also reduced the biological control potential. Organic farming and other agri-environment schemes aiming to mitigate the negative effects of intensive farming on biodiversity did increase the diversity of wild plant and carabid species, but – contrary to our expectations – not the diversity of breeding birds. We conclude that despite decades of European policy to ban harmful pesticides, the negative effects of pesticides on wild plant and animal species persist, at the same time reducing the opportunities for biological pest control. If biodiversity is to be restored in Europe and opportunities are to be created for crop production utilizing biodiversity-based ecosystem services such as biological pest control, there must be a Europe-wide shift towards farming with minimal use of pesticides over large areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint

wild plants
agricultural intensification
biological control
agricultural land
pesticides
pesticide
biodiversity
pest control
wild animals
aphid
insecticide
Aphidoidea
species diversity
insecticides
organic farming
intensive farming
birds
scale effect
wild birds
fungicide

Keywords

  • agri-environment schemes
  • agricultural landscapes
  • intensification
  • diversity
  • abundance
  • heterogeneity
  • management
  • britain

Cite this

Geiger, F. ; Bengtsson, J. ; Berendse, F. ; Weisser, W.W. ; Emmerson, M. ; Morales, M.B. ; Ceryngier, P. ; Liira, J. ; Tscharntke, T. ; Winqvist, C. ; Eggers, S. ; Bommarco, R. ; Pärt, T. ; Bretagnolle, V. ; Plantegenest, M. ; Clement, L.W. ; Dennis, C. ; Palmer, C. ; Oñate, J.J. ; Guerrero, I. ; Hawro, V. ; Aavik, T. ; Thies, C. ; Flohre, A. ; Hänke, S. ; Fischer, C. ; Goedhart, P.W. ; Inchausti, P. / Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland. In: Basic and Applied Ecology. 2010 ; Vol. 11, No. 2. pp. 97-105.
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abstract = "During the last 50 years, agricultural intensification has caused many wild plant and animal species to go extinct regionally or nationally and has profoundly changed the functioning of agro-ecosystems. Agricultural intensification has many components, such as loss of landscape elements, enlarged farm and field sizes and larger inputs of fertilizer and pesticides. However, very little is known about the relative contribution of these variables to the large-scale negative effects on biodiversity. In this study, we disentangled the impacts of various components of agricultural intensification on species diversity of wild plants, carabids and ground-nesting farmland birds and on the biological control of aphids. In a Europe-wide study in eight West and East European countries, we found important negative effects of agricultural intensification on wild plant, carabid and bird species diversity and on the potential for biological pest control, as estimated from the number of aphids taken by predators. Of the 13 components of intensification we measured, use of insecticides and fungicides had consistent negative effects on biodiversity. Insecticides also reduced the biological control potential. Organic farming and other agri-environment schemes aiming to mitigate the negative effects of intensive farming on biodiversity did increase the diversity of wild plant and carabid species, but – contrary to our expectations – not the diversity of breeding birds. We conclude that despite decades of European policy to ban harmful pesticides, the negative effects of pesticides on wild plant and animal species persist, at the same time reducing the opportunities for biological pest control. If biodiversity is to be restored in Europe and opportunities are to be created for crop production utilizing biodiversity-based ecosystem services such as biological pest control, there must be a Europe-wide shift towards farming with minimal use of pesticides over large areas.",
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Geiger, F, Bengtsson, J, Berendse, F, Weisser, WW, Emmerson, M, Morales, MB, Ceryngier, P, Liira, J, Tscharntke, T, Winqvist, C, Eggers, S, Bommarco, R, Pärt, T, Bretagnolle, V, Plantegenest, M, Clement, LW, Dennis, C, Palmer, C, Oñate, JJ, Guerrero, I, Hawro, V, Aavik, T, Thies, C, Flohre, A, Hänke, S, Fischer, C, Goedhart, PW & Inchausti, P 2010, 'Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland' Basic and Applied Ecology, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2009.12.001

Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland. / Geiger, F.; Bengtsson, J.; Berendse, F.; Weisser, W.W.; Emmerson, M.; Morales, M.B.; Ceryngier, P.; Liira, J.; Tscharntke, T.; Winqvist, C.; Eggers, S.; Bommarco, R.; Pärt, T.; Bretagnolle, V.; Plantegenest, M.; Clement, L.W.; Dennis, C.; Palmer, C.; Oñate, J.J.; Guerrero, I.; Hawro, V.; Aavik, T.; Thies, C.; Flohre, A.; Hänke, S.; Fischer, C.; Goedhart, P.W.; Inchausti, P.

In: Basic and Applied Ecology, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2010, p. 97-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland

AU - Geiger, F.

AU - Bengtsson, J.

AU - Berendse, F.

AU - Weisser, W.W.

AU - Emmerson, M.

AU - Morales, M.B.

AU - Ceryngier, P.

AU - Liira, J.

AU - Tscharntke, T.

AU - Winqvist, C.

AU - Eggers, S.

AU - Bommarco, R.

AU - Pärt, T.

AU - Bretagnolle, V.

AU - Plantegenest, M.

AU - Clement, L.W.

AU - Dennis, C.

AU - Palmer, C.

AU - Oñate, J.J.

AU - Guerrero, I.

AU - Hawro, V.

AU - Aavik, T.

AU - Thies, C.

AU - Flohre, A.

AU - Hänke, S.

AU - Fischer, C.

AU - Goedhart, P.W.

AU - Inchausti, P.

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - During the last 50 years, agricultural intensification has caused many wild plant and animal species to go extinct regionally or nationally and has profoundly changed the functioning of agro-ecosystems. Agricultural intensification has many components, such as loss of landscape elements, enlarged farm and field sizes and larger inputs of fertilizer and pesticides. However, very little is known about the relative contribution of these variables to the large-scale negative effects on biodiversity. In this study, we disentangled the impacts of various components of agricultural intensification on species diversity of wild plants, carabids and ground-nesting farmland birds and on the biological control of aphids. In a Europe-wide study in eight West and East European countries, we found important negative effects of agricultural intensification on wild plant, carabid and bird species diversity and on the potential for biological pest control, as estimated from the number of aphids taken by predators. Of the 13 components of intensification we measured, use of insecticides and fungicides had consistent negative effects on biodiversity. Insecticides also reduced the biological control potential. Organic farming and other agri-environment schemes aiming to mitigate the negative effects of intensive farming on biodiversity did increase the diversity of wild plant and carabid species, but – contrary to our expectations – not the diversity of breeding birds. We conclude that despite decades of European policy to ban harmful pesticides, the negative effects of pesticides on wild plant and animal species persist, at the same time reducing the opportunities for biological pest control. If biodiversity is to be restored in Europe and opportunities are to be created for crop production utilizing biodiversity-based ecosystem services such as biological pest control, there must be a Europe-wide shift towards farming with minimal use of pesticides over large areas.

AB - During the last 50 years, agricultural intensification has caused many wild plant and animal species to go extinct regionally or nationally and has profoundly changed the functioning of agro-ecosystems. Agricultural intensification has many components, such as loss of landscape elements, enlarged farm and field sizes and larger inputs of fertilizer and pesticides. However, very little is known about the relative contribution of these variables to the large-scale negative effects on biodiversity. In this study, we disentangled the impacts of various components of agricultural intensification on species diversity of wild plants, carabids and ground-nesting farmland birds and on the biological control of aphids. In a Europe-wide study in eight West and East European countries, we found important negative effects of agricultural intensification on wild plant, carabid and bird species diversity and on the potential for biological pest control, as estimated from the number of aphids taken by predators. Of the 13 components of intensification we measured, use of insecticides and fungicides had consistent negative effects on biodiversity. Insecticides also reduced the biological control potential. Organic farming and other agri-environment schemes aiming to mitigate the negative effects of intensive farming on biodiversity did increase the diversity of wild plant and carabid species, but – contrary to our expectations – not the diversity of breeding birds. We conclude that despite decades of European policy to ban harmful pesticides, the negative effects of pesticides on wild plant and animal species persist, at the same time reducing the opportunities for biological pest control. If biodiversity is to be restored in Europe and opportunities are to be created for crop production utilizing biodiversity-based ecosystem services such as biological pest control, there must be a Europe-wide shift towards farming with minimal use of pesticides over large areas.

KW - agri-environment schemes

KW - agricultural landscapes

KW - intensification

KW - diversity

KW - abundance

KW - heterogeneity

KW - management

KW - britain

U2 - 10.1016/j.baae.2009.12.001

DO - 10.1016/j.baae.2009.12.001

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 97

EP - 105

JO - Basic and Applied Ecology

JF - Basic and Applied Ecology

SN - 1439-1791

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ER -