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Bergen auf Rügen, Germany

Reuter H.,University of Bremen | Middelhoff U.,University of Bremen | Graef F.,Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN | Graef F.,Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Background, aim and scope: European legislation stipulates that genetically modified organisms (GMO) have to be monitored to identify potential adverse environmental effects. A wealth of different types of monitoring data from various sources including existing environmental monitoring programmes is expected to accumulate. This requires an information system to efficiently structure, process and evaluate the monitoring data. Methods: A structure for an Information System for Monitoring GMO (ISMO) was developed by a multidisciplinary research team. It is based on the requirement to organise all relevant information in a logical, readily accessible and functional manner. Results: For the ISMO, we present a combination of three interrelated components: Firstly, an ISMO should comprise a knowledge database structured according to information related to the different scale levels of biological organisation relevant to GMO monitoring and scientific hypotheses on cause-effects which should be validated by monitoring data. Secondly, a monitoring database should be part of an ISMO containing GMO-specific monitoring data and meta-data. This monitoring database should be linked with monitoring data from other monitoring programmes which are relevant for GMO-related questions. Thirdly, an ISMO should encompass a database covering administrative and procedural data. Neither national nor international approaches to an ISMO exist yet. Conclusions: An ISMO as designed in this paper could support competent authorities in both the GMO notification process and in post-market monitoring. This includes evaluating the environmental risks of experimentally releasing GMO and placing them on the market, assessing monitoring plans and evaluating monitoring results. The ISMO should be implemented on both the national and international level, preferably combining different administrative scales. Harmonisation approaches towards GMO monitoring data are at an initial stage, but they are a precondition to coordinated GMO monitoring and to successfully implementing an ISMO. It is recommended to set up a legal basis and to agree on common strategies for the data coordination and harmonisation. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Grigoriadis N.,Greek National Agricultural Research Foundation | Petermann J.,Weissdornweg 12 | Schroder E.,Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN | Spyroglou G.,Greek National Agricultural Research Foundation
Journal of Biological Research

This paper provides a conservation assessment of the habitat type "Acidophilous Forests (Vaccinio- Piceetea)" within the Natura 2000 sites "Elatia-Pyramis Koutra" (GR1140003), a managed forest and "Partheno Dasos Kentrikis Rodopis" (GR1140001), an unmanaged forest located in the prefecture of Drama (NE Greece). These sites are the only Natura 2000 sites in Greece with this habitat type. Thirty-eight sample plots of 500 m2 each were selected randomly in these two sites. Three parameters and ten criteria were used to assess conservation status. The main results show that Elatia forest comprises various developmental stages, with a relatively low percentage of dead wood (5.7% of the stand), of which only 50% was of large size (DBH >30 cm) and 30% standing. Only one biotope tree and no ancient trees were recorded in Elatia forest. Most of the sample plots showed signs of man-made gaps or clearings (habitat fragmentation). The overall conservation status assessment of the managed Elatia forest is "inadequate" (B) while that of the unmanaged forest is "favourable" (A). We conclude that there is much room for improvement in the current forest management practices of the Elatia forest. Source

Hofmann F.,Frieder Hofmann | Otto M.,Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN | Wosniok W.,University of Bremen
Environmental Sciences Europe

Background: Information on pollen dispersal is essential for the risk assessment and management of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) such as Bt maize. We analyzed data on maize pollen deposition at 216 sites in Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium from 2001 to 2010. All data were collected using the same standardized sampling method. The distances between sampling site and the nearest maize field ranged from within the field to 4.45 km.Results: Maize pollen deposition was negatively correlated with distance from the nearest pollen source. The highest pollen deposition was within the field, but depositions of several thousand pollen grains per square meter were recorded over the kilometer range. A power function model most accurately described the relationship between deposition and distance from the nearest pollen source, rather than the exponential model currently used in EU risk assessment and management, which underestimates exposure for distances greater than 10 m. Regression analysis confirmed the high significance of the power relationship. The large variation in pollen deposition at a given distance reflected the influences of wind direction and other meteorological and site conditions. Plausible variations of single values and the predicted mean pollen count at a given distance were expressed by confidence intervals.Conclusions: The model described here allows estimations of pollen deposition in relation to distance from the nearest field; therefore, it will be valuable for the risk assessment and management of GMOs. Our results indicate that buffer zones in the kilometer range are required to prevent harmful exposure of non-target organisms to GMOs. © 2014, Hofmann et al.; licensee Springer. Source

Lang A.,University of Basel | Buhler C.,Hintermann & Weber AG | Dolek M.,Buro fur Okologische Forschung und Planung | Roth T.,Hintermann & Weber AG | Zughart W.,Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN
Journal of Insect Conservation

Setting up effective survey strategies for biodiversity monitoring in agro-ecosystems is a major task in order to detect adverse effects on biodiversity before negative changes will manifest. Here, we studied the relative costs required for the monitoring of butterflies and selected diurnal moths (Papilionoidea et Hesperioidea; Zygaenoidea: Zygaenidae) in farmland. Analysing data from a well-established Lepidoptera monitoring system in Switzerland, we assessed the influence of inspection periods, inspection frequency and transect length on counts of diurnal Lepidoptera. Furthermore, we estimated the number of transects in relation to sampling effort necessary to detect changes of a given effect size for recorded species number (and abundance). Reducing the counting frequency from seven to four inspections per season still yielded 80–90 % of the species, as long as peak abundances in summer months were included. The variation in observed species number was mostly independent of inspection frequency, but strongly increased when transect length was reduced to less than 1 km. Sedentary Lepidoptera species are especially valuable indicators as their occurrences are directly linked to local effects on biodiversity, and the proportion of recorded sedentary species was not substantially affected by reduced inspection frequency. Transects of 1–1.5 km length were generally the most cost-efficient to detect an effect on total species number of diurnal Lepidoptera in arable landscapes, given that travelling distances between transects were short. Studying effects on rare species or selected species groups would involve higher sampling intensity and costs. Surveying schemes with reduced inspection frequency and transect lengths can detect changes in species richness and total abundance of diurnal Lepidoptera cost-effectively. Facing expected changes in agricultural policy and management, the results and recommendations presented here will help to implement and improve cost-efficient Lepidoptera schemes to monitor changes in arable landscapes. © 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Source

Lang A.,Institute of Environmental Geosciences | Otto M.,Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

One of the major applications of transgenic crops in agriculture are the so-called . Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) plants, in particular Bt maizes, which produce insecticidal Cry proteins that target specific orders, such as the Lepidoptera or Coleoptera. We reviewed publications that reported on the direct toxic effects of Bt-maize and/or Cry proteins of current Bt-maize events on larvae of non-target butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera). In total, 20 peer-reviewed publications were identified, of which 16 papers contributed laboratory-based data and seven field-based data. An adverse effect on caterpillars was recorded in 52% of all laboratory-based and in 21% of all field-based observations. The variables most often studied and having the highest occurrence of effects were larval survival, body mass, and developmental time. Parameters of the adult stage were under-represented in the studies. Overall, 11 lepidopteran species were tested. The majority of the studies originated from the USA, with the Monarch butterfly being the most studied, whereas other species and other parts of the world were widely neglected. Laboratory experiments were often run under unrealistic conditions from an ecological point of view. Although the papers we reviewed indicated a potential hazard for Lepidoptera that are exposed to and feed on lepidopteran-specific Bt-maize pollen, a general conclusion on the level of risk for butterflies and moths cannot as yet be drawn. A comprehensive risk characterization would require thorough hazard identification, exposure assessment, and impact assessment. However, our review showed that even the basic level of hazard characterization is as yet incomplete. Reasons for this are the still-limited numbers of publications and concurrent lack of knowledge, the restriction of data to only a few species, the over-representation of North American species, and the identified limitations of both laboratory and field experiments. The findings of this review suggest that more realistic, ecologically meaningful, and detailed experiments and analyses are crucial to improve the present assessment of Bt-maize cultivation effects on Lepidoptera. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Netherlands Entomological Society. Source

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