Pesticidas reduzem biodiversidade
Agricultural pesticides have been linked to widespread invertebrate biodiversity loss in two new research papers.
Pesticide use has sharply reduced the regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, such as mayflies and dragonflies, in Europe and Australia, finds a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1.
Previous research has shown similar decreases in individual streams, but the study by Mikhail Beketov, an aquatic ecologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues analysed the effects of pesticides over broad regions.
The team examined 23 streams in the central plains of Germany, 16 in the western plains of France and 24 in southern Victoria, Australia. They classified streams according to three different levels of pesticide contamination: uncontaminated, slightly contaminated and highly contaminated.
The researchers found that there were up to 42% fewer species in highly contaminated than in uncontaminated streams in Europe. Highly contaminated streams in Australia showed a decrease in the number of invertebrate families by up to 27% when contrasted with uncontaminated streams.