Environmental risks have to be assessed before a plant protection product (PPP) is used. The ecotoxicity of the PPP for different organisms (birds, mammals, fish, aquatic invertebrates and plants, arthropods including bees, earthworms and micro-organisms), is compared with the expected exposure of organisms to the PPP through water, soil, air or food. For unproblematic substances toxicological endpoints from laboratory studies and simple exposure calculations are sufficient. For problematic substances additional higher-tier studies are carried out: e.g. mesocosm studies for aquatic organisms and feeding studies for birds. These studies allow a more refined risk analysis, which is an important basis for the registration process.
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.