It’s not just pests: Pesticides damage biodiversity

Yesterday Sharon Oosthoek at Nature told us about some new science, showing that pesticides spark broad biodiversity loss. It’s easy to spray pesticides within legal limits. But many pesticides accumulate in soil and water. Many organisms can be affected, going far beyond pest control.

This kind of thinking doesn’t have to lead to extremism. It can lead to Integrated Pest Management.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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6 Responses to It’s not just pests: Pesticides damage biodiversity

  1. EqFe says:

    Threats to biodiversity are everywhere these days, but I’m most worried about decreased biodiversity in the US when it comes to food. As an aside 90% of all turkeys raised are a single breed. More importantly, GMO and especially Roundup ready GMO seed is shrinking the diversity of key food crops. Half of the Corn, soybean, oats and rapeseed grown in North America is now Roundup ready. In the late seventies a blight devastated the corn crop, and at that time, only 25% of the crop contained a single gene (related to tasseling) now it’s half who knows what the future brings.

    • argylesock says:

      I agree. With evidence accumulating about Roundup as a toxin, I hope (against hope) that Roundup Ready crops will go out of fashion.

      That’s bad about limited genetic diversity in your country’s corn. It’s ironic, in a bad way, that you have many Irish Americans whose ancestors came over after the potato famine. As you know, a major contributor to that famine was the prominence of a single potato variety (Lumper) which was susceptible to blight (Phytophthora infestans). People don’t learn from history, do we?

  2. EqFe says:

    No we don’t. Over half the potato fields in the major potato growing areas of the US are planted with Russet Burbank, a variety best suited to making fast food fries (chips). The again, at one point most of the dersert bananas in the world were gros Michel.

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