News March 2024

Buffer zones alone cannot protect nature from pesticides

INBO published a study on the impact of pesticides on nature and man, and the role of buffer zones.

The impact of pesticides is difficult to distinguish from other influences because they act simultaneously. Yet numerous studies show worrying links between pesticide use and the condition of mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, plants and fungi. Pesticides are transmitted throughout the food web. They not only cause direct mortality, but also impair essential functions such as orientation and reproduction. Many pesticides are first authorised and later banned again because the long-term toxicity only then becomes clear. Synergistic toxicity is also possible from several pesticides together, including from residues of pesticides that have since been banned.

Buffer zones wide enough to accommodate pesticide drift would occupy almost all of Flanders. The study concludes that reducing impacts should be done on three levels.

  1. Reduce pesticide use.
  2. Take all precautions to minimise losses when pesticides are still used.
  3. Use buffer zones when losses do occur.

Filip Debruyne, Myriam Dumortier

Read more: Debruyne F., Lauwers L., El Bakkali C., Wils C., Dumortier M. (2023). Naar minder impact van pesticiden op natuur en mens. Rapporten van het Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek 2023 (28). Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Brussel.

Image above: Myriam Dumortier


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