Do Crop Protection Products Threaten Biodiversity?

Changes to biodiversity are primarily attributable to human interventions into nature and not the use of crop protection products. Any large-scale cultivation of plants changes the plant diversity in the region in question: where roses bloom, nettles don’t grow, and in fields where corn or cereal grows, there are no trees, bushes or wild flowers. The construction of buildings and roads, the planting of gardens and many other human activities also destroy habitats and have a negative effect on biodiversity.

Each second, another 4.95 m2 of land in Germany is repurposed for housing and transport infrastructure. At present (2017), the total area used for housing and transport infrastructure is already equivalent to the combined area of the federal states of Thuringia, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland, plus the city states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. Source

threatening biodiversity

In the tropics, biodiversity is concentrated in rain forests; in central Europe, on the other hand, it centers on the diversity of habitats: open landscapes, gravel areas, rough grasslands, heaths, marshes and many more. All of these biotopes have receded in the past decades due to human activity.

Farmers can only survive the current competitive pressure if they work with maximum cost efficiency. They therefore no longer remove unwanted plants from their fields mechanically but instead now rely on crop protection agents. To prevent these products from having a negative impact on flora and fauna, however, they are subject to scrupulous testing before being approved.

Biodiversity in Central Europe can therefore only be preserved and nurtured if diverse habitats are in place where highly specialized plants and animals can live. To preserve as many such areas as possible, the productive use of farmland must be maximized. This leaves more land that can be kept free of fertilizers and crop protection products.

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