Pidgeon, J.D., May, M.J., Perry, J.N. and Poppy, G.M.
Mitigation of indirect environmental effects of GM crops
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274, (1617), . (doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.0401).
Full text not available from this repository.
Currently, the UK has no procedure for the approval of novel agricultural practices that is based on environmental risk management principles. Here, we make a first application of the ‘bow-tie’ risk management approach in agriculture, for assessment of land use changes, in a case study of the introduction of genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) sugar beet. There are agronomic and economic benefits, but indirect environmental harm from increased weed control is a hazard. The Farm Scale Evaluation (FSE) trials demonstrated reduced broad-leaved weed biomass and seed production at the field scale. The simplest mitigation measure is to leave a proportion of rows unsprayed in each GMHT crop field. Our calculations, based on FSE data, show that a maximum of 2% of field area left unsprayed is required to mitigate weed seed production and 4% to mitigate weed biomass production. Tilled margin effects could simply be mitigated by increasing the margin width from 0.5 to 1.5m. Such changes are cheap and simple to implement in farming practices. This case study demonstrates the usefulness of the bow-tie risk management approach and the transparency with which hazards can be addressed. If adopted generally, it would help to enable agriculture to adopt new practices with due environmental precaution.
Actions (login required)