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The risk assessment of pesticides is currently based on standardized screening tests with six plant species from six different families including mono- and dicotyledon species. In case of herbicidal or plant growth regulatory activity a dose response test on a selection of 6 to 10 monocotyledon and dicotyledon plant species providing an ER50 value is required. Semi-field and field tests on plant abundance and biomass are not standardized. As in Europe a main development is taken place to landscape level risk assessment, the question arises how such a risk assessment can be performed for terrestrial plants. When considering the landscape level, the level of biological organization is not the species, but merely the plant community.

Objective

Deduce an appropriate number  of plant communities in terms of habitats, functionalities and structures at the European level to be used in the risk assessment for herbicides.

Data

Predictors for the occurrence of these vegetation classes are climate, topography and soil factors as well as bio-geography. These classes are linked with information about important plant traits (life form, nitrogen sensitivity, reproduction, life form, fruit type, etc.) that play a role in the overall vulnerability of plants. Distribution of agricultural crops are linked to herbicide use and mode of action of the herbicide resulting in small, medium or large effects or no effects on biomass. 

References

Arts, G., Hennekens, S., Verweij, P., van Eupen, M., submitted, Developing a tool to apply in the risk assessment for Plant Communities in the vicinity of agricultural fields/orchards, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Dublin 2020

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