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A number of chemical plant protection products, also known as pesticides, show harmful effects on ecosystems and biodiversity in their current use. Besides climate change, changes in global nutrient cycles and habitat destruction through altered land-use, the utilization of pesticides has also led to a dramatic loss of biodiversity. This is explained by a group of experts in a discussion paper published today.
The scientists call for more comprehensive approval procedures for pesticides to better control their environmental implications. The authors point out, that the current approval procedures for pesticides fail to reflect many of their ecological effects outdoors. They recommend adaptions to pesticide approval procedures in order to make their use more environmentally sustainable.
Often times plant protection products remain detectable in soil and water far longer than intended by the approval process. The experts are therefore proposing an observational system, which will review the long-term effects of pesticides on ecosystems during an initial trial under a geographically and temporally limited permit.