Biomonitoring of pesticide pollution in the air

Responsibility: TIEM integrated environmental monitoring

So far, there are only a few environmental-chemical studies that deal with the pesticide load in nature conservation areas caused by conventional farming methods. First results of studies on the coexistence of conventional and organic farms in Brandenburg showed that, in addition to direct contamination by drift from conventionally cultivated neighbouring fields, long-distance transport of pesticides also takes place.

This work package aims at a spatial representative assessment of air pollution loads within the 21 selected nature reserves as well as in the surrounding agricultural areas. Standardized technique of bark biomonitoring and effective multi-point data collection will be applied to monitor the aerial input of a broad range of pesticides (>500 PSM) and more than 55 elements. This allows a fingerprinting of relevant pollution impacts by agriculture and other anthropogenic and natural pollution sources, e.g. N, P and other nutrients indicating the intensity of agriculture and fertilization at the sites, other elements like toxic heavy metals, S, lanthanides, serving to differentiate the influence of other industrial emission sources such as combustion, acid rain, traffic etc.

Bark biomonitoring is a standardized method to measure air pollution loads integrating over greater time spans in a comparable way. To integrate volatile as well as semi-volatile and non-volatile contaminants, yearly sub-samples will be taken at the end of each season and combined to one integrated sample. Beside of direct and immediate effects, also indirect and time-delayed effects of pollution exposure to insect populations are to be regarded, too. The results of the bark biomonitoring on long-term pollution are valuable to integrate these aspects in the analysis and final assessment.

Results will provide data on the complexity of pollution loads at the sites in a comparable way, allowing an empirical data-based assessment of pollution impacts for the 21 nature reserves and the surrounding landscape and classification in the three exposure categories. Hereby the standardized method enables the assessment in relation to other sites in Germany in form of the statistical data distribution being defined in previous projects. Furthermore, data are valuable for further research such as the definition of representative pollution cocktails to be used in standardized laboratory toxicity tests.

Spatially representative multi-point sampling plan for the bark biomonitoring of air pollution within the 21 locations (blue points) and outside in the surrounding agricultural landscape (red points) with a schematic transect for certain pesticide gradients from the field to the interior of the nature reserve (NSG).

So far, there are only a few environmental-chemical studies that deal with the pesticide load in nature conservation areas caused by conventional farming methods. First results of studies on the coexistence of conventional and organic farms in Brandenburg showed that, in addition to direct contamination by drift from conventionally cultivated neighbouring fields, long-distance transport of pesticides also takes place.

This work package aims at a spatial representative assessment of air pollution loads within the 21 selected nature reserves as well as in the surrounding agricultural areas. Standardized technique of bark biomonitoring and effective multi-point data collection will be applied to monitor the aerial input of a broad range of pesticides (>500 PSM) and more than 55 elements. This allows a fingerprinting of relevant pollution impacts by agriculture and other anthropogenic and natural pollution sources, e.g. N, P and other nutrients indicating the intensity of agriculture and fertilization at the sites, other elements like toxic heavy metals, S, lanthanides, serving to differentiate the influence of other industrial emission sources such as combustion, acid rain, traffic etc.

Bark biomonitoring is a standardized method to measure air pollution loads integrating over greater time spans in a comparable way. To integrate volatile as well as semi-volatile and non-volatile contaminants, yearly sub-samples will be taken at the end of each season and combined to one integrated sample. Beside of direct and immediate effects, also indirect and time-delayed effects of pollution exposure to insect populations are to be regarded, too. The results of the bark biomonitoring on long-term pollution are valuable to integrate these aspects in the analysis and final assessment.

Results will provide data on the complexity of pollution loads at the sites in a comparable way, allowing an empirical data-based assessment of pollution impacts for the 21 nature reserves and the surrounding landscape and classification in the three exposure categories. Hereby the standardized method enables the assessment in relation to other sites in Germany in form of the statistical data distribution being defined in previous projects. Furthermore, data are valuable for further research such as the definition of representative pollution cocktails to be used in standardized laboratory toxicity tests.

Taking the bark samples, which are evaluated for the detection of pesticides and other pollutants.

Dr. Werner Kratz - Independent assistant

Maximilian Sprenger - Independent assistant

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