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Jansch S.,ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH | Rombke J.,ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH | Hilbeck A.,Ecostrat GmbH | Weiss G.,Ecostrat GmbH Berlin | And 2 more authors.
BioRisk | Year: 2011

According to the current legal background for the regulation of genetically modified plants (GMPs) in Europe, an environmental risk assessment (ERA) has to be performed considering i) the crop plant, ii) the novel trait relating to its intended effect and phenotypic characteristics of the GM crop plant and iii) the receiving environment related to the intended use of the GMP. However, the current GMP-ERA does not differentiate between different intended receiving environments. Therefore, the question is to be raised: How can the 'receiving environment' be classified on the European scale, both in an ecologically relevant and feasible way? As a first step this proposal focuses on invertebrates in the terrestrial environmental compartment. In order to check if already existing regionalization concepts are suitable for the above raised question the following selection criteria were employed: - Distribution of non-target organisms (NTOs): A suitable regionalization concept should appropriately reflect the specific characteristics of the animal and plant communities of the different receiving environments of a GMP. Therefore, such a classification should be done by an ecoregion approach, meaning that different ecoregions support different organism communities that may play a different role in supporting relevant ecosystem services. However, information on the distribution of invertebrates in Europe is not available in sufficient detail for this purpose. Hence, it is proposed to use the information about site conditions like climatic, vegetation and soil parameters, which determine the composition of invertebrate communities, for the selection of an appropriate classification concept. - Size and number of geographical units: This is a trade-off between the total number of 'receiving environments' in Europe manageable in a regulatory context and the ecological uniformity of a single geographical unit. An intermediate size and number of geographical units should be the aim of the classification. With the 'Indicative map of European biogeographical regions' (IMEBR) there is an existing regionalization concept that meets many of the requirements identified above: the classification is based on parameters that also determine the distribution of invertebrate communities (i.e., the potential natural vegetation) and nine biogeographical regions represented within the 27 member states of the European Union (EU-27) are a manageable number for regulatory purposes. However, epigeic (living above ground) and endogeic (living below ground) faunal communities are determined by different biotic and abiotic parameters. For example, climate data is much more relevant for epigeic species than for endogeic organisms. The most important soil properties related to the distribution of endogeic organisms and plants are pH, texture, organic matter content and/or content of organic carbon, C/N ratio, and water-holding capacity. Hence, for endogeic non-target organisms there is currently no suitable regionalization concept available. For the time being, it is recommended to identify important species for testing purposes in each ecoregion with GMP cultivation by means of expert knowledge using the IMEBR for both epigeic and endogeic communities. The regionalization concept is intended to be used in the context of the ERA of GMPs for the assessment of risk for NTOs. Hence, it should be tailored for the area in the EU where GMPs are likely to be grown. The overlap between the biogeographical regions and the intended area of cultivation for a novel GMP form the different cases, each of which should undergo a specific ERA process. For example, there would be eight or nine separate potato cases for the EU-27 area, i.e. the Alpine, Atlantic, Boreal, Continental, Macaronesian, Mediterranean, Pannonian, Steppic and possibly the Black Sea biogeographical regions. For grain maize there would be five to nine separate cases, i.e. the Atlantic, Continental, Mediterranean, Pannonian, Steppic and possibly the Alpine, Black Sea, Boreal and Macaronesian biogeographical regions. copyright S. Jänsch et al. Source


O'Leary B.C.,University of York | Brown R.L.,University of York | Johnson D.E.,OSPAR Commission | Von Nordheim H.,German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation BfN | And 4 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being established to protect and rebuild coastal and marine ecosystems. However, while the high seas are increasingly subject to exploitation, globally few MPAs exist in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In 2010 a substantial step forward was made in the protection of high seas ecosystems with 286,200km 2 of the North-East Atlantic established as six MPAs. Here a summary is presented of how the world's first network of high seas marine protected areas was created under the OSPAR Convention, the main challenges and a series of key lessons learned, aiming to highlight approaches that also may be effective for similar efforts in the future. It is concluded that the designation of these six MPAs is just the start of the process and to achieve ecological coherence and representativity in the North-East Atlantic, the network will have to be complemented over time by additional MPA sites. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Rombke J.,ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH | Jansch S.,ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH | Meier M.,EcoStrat | Hilbeck A.,EcoStrat | And 2 more authors.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2010

Before a genetically modified plant (GMP) can be placed on the market in the European Union (EU), an environmental risk assessment has to be conducted according to EU-Directive 2001/18/EC or Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council. However, no harmonized concept for ecotoxicological testing is available today that considers the characteristics of GMPs as a whole. In fact, to date, mainly ecotoxicological tests originally developed and standardized for pesticides are used for this purpose. Frequently in these tests, not the whole GMP is tested but only specific transgene products (mainly toxins). In this contribution, ecotoxicological methods developed for the testing of pesticides are evaluated for whether they are suitable for risk assessment of GMPs as well. In total, 105 test methods covering a wide range of terrestrial invertebrates, microbes, and plants (laboratory, semifield, and field levels) were assessed. Only 7 of them had already been used with GMPs, and in about 20 studies the existing tests methods were modified, mostly in a way such that nonstandard species were used. In the laboratory, few earthworm and nontarget arthropod (NTA) species as well as collembolans and isopods were tested, and, in the field, only the litter-bag test was used. Clearly, more species than these few standard organisms currently in use have to be selected for testing purposes. A more detailed analysis of GMP tests with soil invertebrates published in the literature revealed that some of the relevant GMP exposure routes, such as via bulk soil, soil porewater, and litter from GMPs, are well covered. However, studies addressing either consumption of GMPs themselves or secondary exposure after GMPs have been taken up by invertebrates that feed on living or dead GMPs are underrepresented. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2010;6:287-300. © 2009 SETAC. Source

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