Leipzig. Europe's streams will in future be more heavily polluted with insecticides than before. This is the conclusion of a study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) for which scientists compared the situation of 1990 with climate and land use change scenarios in 2090. The risks for streams caused by the use of insecticides in agriculture will increase significantly in many regions of Europe, and particularly in Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and in Central Europe, according to scientists in the journal Ecological Applications.
Large parts of Germany will also belong to the approximately 40% of Europe's surface area in which streams will no longer have a good ecological status due to agricultural pesticides. The aim of the EU Water Framework Directive of achieving and sustainably maintaining a good chemical and ecological status will therefore be even more difficult to achieve in future. The scientists therefore recommend to drastically reduce the exposure of pesticides to streams. This can be achieved not only by a reduction in the use of pesticides, but also by setting up buffer zones along the streams. This will reduce the amount of pesticides which are washed by rain from the fields into rivers. These buffer zones can also act as a refuge for threatened species, from where they can recolonise.
For their study the scientists evaluated for the European Union for example data on the amount of insecticides used, the plant species cultivated and land use and visualised the results in maps. Only Slovenia, Cyprus and the latest members of the EU, Bulgaria and Romania, were not considered due to a lack of data. They then compared the base line situation of 1990 with a climate scenario for 2090. The forecast is therefore based on a wide range of assumptions concerning how the climate and land use in Europe might develop in the next few decades. "For the expected climate changes we took those values which the Intergov
|Contact: Tilo Arnhold|
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres