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Environmental risks from agriculture in Europe

Locating environmental risk zones in Europe using agri-environmental indicators

Citation: Delbaere, B. & A. Nieto Serradilla (Eds) (2004) Environmental risks from agriculture in Europe: Locating environmental risk zones in Europe using agri-environmental indicators Tilburg, ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation

ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation Headquarters Tilburg PO Box 90154 5000 LG Tilburg the Netherlands ecnc@ecnc.org www.ecnc.org ECNC Regional Office Budapest c.o. National Authority for Nature Conservation Klto Utca 21 1121 Budapest Hungary ecnc@ecnc.hu

2004 ECNC: No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of ECNC. The EnRisk team is solely responsible for the content of this document. It does not represent the opinion of the European Community, nor is the EC responsible for any use that might be made of data appearing herein. EnRisk is financed by the European Commission as a Concerted Action under theme Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources of the Fifth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities. Contract no.: QLK5-CT-2001-01911

Environmental risks from agriculture in Europe


Locating environmental risk zones in Europe using agri-environmental indicators

Edited by: Ben Delbaere and Ana Nieto Serradilla, ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation

With contributions by: Prof. Dr Winfried E.H. Blum, Dr Max Kuderna & Gabriele Wolkerstorfer Institute for Soil Research, University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna, Austria Dr Floor Brouwer & Frans E. Godeschalk - Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands Prof. Dr Francisco Daz Pineda, Paloma Fernndez Saudo & Teresa Gil Gil - Centro de Investigaciones Ambientales de la Comunidad de Madrid Fernando Gonzlez Bernldez, Spain Dr Ir Anne Gobin - Laboratory for Experimental Geomorphology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium Paul Goriup The NatureBureau, United Kingdom Prof. Dr Volkmar Gutsche Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Germany Dr Alan Pickaver EUCC the Coastal Union, the Netherlands Dirk Wascher & Michiel van Eupen Alterra, Green World Research, the Netherlands Dr Paul Williams The Natural History Museum, United Kingdom Dr Christoph Zckler, Mary Edwards & Matt Doughty UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, United Kingdom

4 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agriculture and the environment

List of contents
Preface 8 Executive summary 9 Introduction 12

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1.1 1.2 1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.2.5 1.3 1.3.1 1.3.2 1.3.3 1.4 1.5 1.5.1 1.5.2 1.5.3 1.5.4

Environmental risk assessment and agriculture 15


Agriculture and the environment 15 Agri-environmental policies in Europe 17 Policy focused on nutrient enrichment 17 Soil erosion policy 18 Policies on pesticide use 18 Policies on agriculture and biodiversity 19 European landscape policies 20 Agri-environmental indicators 21 The ELISA project 21 European Union and the IRENA project 21 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 24 Environmental risk assessment 24 Method applied in the EnRisk project 26 EnRisk objectives 26 Scientific added value 26 Geographical scope 26 Common framework 26

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2.1 2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.1.4 2.2 2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.2.4 2.3 2.3.1 2.3.2 2.3.3 2.3.4

Risk assessment at the European scale 31


Soil erosion 31 Assessment of the European soil loss 31 Methodology 33 Mapping soil erosion risk zones 36 Interpretation of results 41 Nutrient enrichment 44 Overview and interpretation of data sources 44 Methodology 50 European eutrophication risk zones 50 Interpretation of results 51 Pesticide use 52 Overview and interpretation of data sources 52 Methodology 53 Mapping pesticide risk zones 55 Interpretation of results 56

2.4 2.4.1 2.4.2 2.4.3 2.4.4 2.4.5 2.5 2.5.1 2.5.2 2.5.3 2.5.4 2.5.5 2.5.6 2.6 2.6.1 2.6.2 2.6.3 2.6.4 2.6.5 2.7

Biodiversity 62 Assessing risks to biodiversity 62 Overview of data sources 63 Methodology 65 European biodiversity risk zones 68 Interpretation of results 68 Landscape 75 Conceptual framework 75 Overview and interpretation of data sources 75 Methodological approach for landscape state and vulnerability assessment 79 Calculation towards landscape vulnerability for diversity 82 Interpretation of results 88 Landscape risk assessment: example of livestock density 89 Matching environmental risk zones with farm types 91 Soil erosion 91 Eutrophication 91 Pesticide 91 Relating biodiversity risk zones to farm practices 92 Landscapes 92 Integrative assessment soil erosion and pesticide use 95

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3.1 3.2 3.2.1 3.3 3.3.1 3.3.2 3.3.3 3.3.4 3.4 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 3.5 3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.6 3.6.1 3.6.2 3.6.3 3.7 3.7.1

Risk assessment at local to regional scales 97


Introduction 97 General description of the Region of Murcia, Spain 99 Introduction 99 Soil erosion in the Region of Murcia, Spain 104 The case study area 104 Data and model used in the case study area 104 Validation and comparison of the European approach 104 Tolerable soil loss 106 Pesticide use in the Region of Murcia, Spain 108 Database 108 Method 108 Results and discussion 109 Eutrophication in Murcia 114 Database 114 Method 114 Results and discussion 114 Risks to biodiversity in Murcia 116 Introduction 116 Method and results 116 Interpretation of results 119 Landscape risks in Murcia 121 The backgrounds of changes in landscape diversity in the southeast of Spain 121

3.7.2 3.7.3 3.8 3.8.1 3.8.2 3.8.3 3.8.4 3.9 3.9.1 3.9.2 3.9.3 3.9.4 3.9.5 3.10 3.10.1 3.10.2 3.10.3 3.10.4 3.10.5 3.11 3.11.1 3.11.2 3.11.3 3.11.4 3.11.5 3.11.6

Landscape types in Murcia 121 Landscape diversity and vulnerability 122 Soil erosion risks in the Ybbs river basin, Austria and the Zala river basin, Hungary 126 The case study areas 126 Data and models used in the case study areas 126 Validation and comparison of the European approach 128 Validation by others 131 Parcel-level pesticide risks in Lamspringe county Hildesheim, Germany 132 Background 132 Characterization of investigation site 132 Data and method 132 Results and discussion 132 Summarizing conclusions 136 Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea 137 The characteristics of the Baltic Sea and eutrophication 137 Loading of nitrogen and phosphorus as a result of agricultural practices 137 Impacts on biodiversity caused by eutrophication 141 Current environmental risk assessment 145 Conclusions 147 Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands 149 The Green Heart as part of the Randstad 149 Agriculture 150 National validation of landscape Shannon diversity 151 National validation of landscape vulnerability taking into account intrinsic diversity 154 Landscape diversity changes over time 154 Interpretation of the results 154

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4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5

Review of methodology, data and results 157


Soil erosion 157 Pesticides 160 Eutrophication 161 Biodiversity 161 Landscape 163

5 6

Conclusions 165 Recommendations 169


Bibliography 172 Project participants 178 Acronyms 180 Annexes 182 Thank you 183 Colophon 184

Preface
Europes agricultural policy and its relation to our natural environment has been the subject of a lot of debate over recent years. It has long been my conviction that environmental concerns should be integrated more seriously into agricultural policies. I was therefore encouraged by the mid-term reform of the European Unions Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003, although arguably more could have been achieved. Already before that reform I stressed in my speech to Europes environment ministers gathering in Kyiv for the fifth Environment for Europe conference in May 2003 that in my view the CAP should be developed into an European Unions Rural Policy as soon as possible, in which the production of nature, biodiversity and landscape values should be regarded as important elements for rural development, including the economic viability of regions. It is in this perspective that I am delighted with the publication of this report on Environmental risks from agriculture in Europe. It is a key output of three years of investigations by an experienced and interdisciplinary team of 11 European scientists under coordination by ECNC European Centre for Nature Conservation in the project abbreviated EnRisk Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture. This team has made an attempt to use agri-environmental indicators and data sets in Europe for the identification of areas that are at particularly high risk for negative impacts from selected agricultural practices on water, soil, biodiversity and landscapes. As the report concludes, this has not been an easy task for various reasons of a technical nature. However, the report clearly outlines a methodology that can, if more accurate and up-to-date data become available, support policymakers in identifying priority areas for taking environmental measures. Amongst others, the study recommends that more effort be put into collecting and processing environmental data in harmonized ways. This is particularly applicable to the topics of biodiversity and landscapes. The report also recommends that, together with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Commission and others, the risk indicators that have been developed by the team should be further refined. This report is a tool to convey the message that emerges from the research to a broad audience. I encourage both the science and policy community to study the recommendations of the team and to integrate them into their developments. The recommendations may well be incorporated in future research studies on relations between agriculture and environment as well as in rural policy development at both regional and international levels. You can count on ECNC to help to make the recommendations a reality. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the EnRisk team at ECNC and its project partners for the work and creativity they have put into achieving this output. I should also like to thank the EnRisk steering group and others who have contributed valuable and constructive criticism during the course of this project. And finally, a word of thanks goes to the European Commission (Directorate-General Research) for providing the financial opportunity to undertake this research. I hope you will find the result interesting and constructive reading.

Sir Brian Unwin President ECNC

Executive summary
Europes environment, biological diversity and landscape have to a large extent been shaped by agricultural land use. Today agricultural practices have both positive and negative impacts on the environment and its components. Because of the diversity in environmental, biological and geomorphological factors in Europe the impacts from agriculture vary by region. European policies, most notably the European Unions Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), have been developed and implemented to ensure that agricultural harm to the environment is reduced or compensated. In order for the policies and measures to be most effective it is important to customize and prioritize their implementation to the characteristics of individual regions of Europe. For this reason it is important to know which areas of Europe are more sensitive to environmental impacts from agriculture than others. In other words, where are the areas of highest risk for environmental damage from agriculture? The current report contains the final product of a project that has aimed to answer this question: EnRisk, or Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture. During a period of three years a team of 11 research institutes from six European countries, financed by the European Commission, has worked towards the following objectives: to investigate the role of risk assessment as a decision support tool; to test existing data and indicators; to identify and map environmental risk zones at European and local level; and to formulate policy and methodology recommendations. Building on the previous ELISA project (Environmental Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture) the project team has concentrated on five environmental themes: soil erosion, pesticide use, nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and landscape change. It has done so in an integrated way, by looking at the interactions between these themes as well as by relating the findings to farm practices. The research was carried out from two geographical perspectives: the panEuropean scale and local or regional case studies. The EnRisk project has been innovative in its approach because: agri-environmental indicators were tested for the concrete purpose of environmental risk assessment; integrated environmental risk assessment was carried out, linking five themes and their interrelations and the causeeffect relations with agricultural land use; the focus of 'conventional' risk assessment is on ecotoxicology and human health, whereas EnRisk looked at ecological risk assessment by assessing risk to ecosystems and their components; risks from agriculture to biodiversity and landscapes were quantified and risk indicators developed. For both the European assessment and the case studies the best available data have been used. No data have been specifically collected for the purpose of the study. Although this forms a limitation to what could be possible, it gives the opportunity to really test in how far these databases, such as the Corine Land Cover database (CLC), can be used for the purpose of environmental risk assessment. The challenge by using this approach has been to find a way to combine data that vary in quality, scale, resolution, geographical coverage, structure, or actuality into a common output. Also the agri-environmental indicators that have initially been selected for the assessments were developed elsewhere. Specifically the indicators that were proposed by the ELISA project, as well as those listed by the European Union (EU) (and implemented in the IRENA project (Indicator Reporting on the Integration of Environmental Concerns into Agriculture Policy)) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) formed a starting point for the environmental themes covered by EnRisk. Additional risk indicators were developed for some of the individual themes. For integrating the EnRisk themes the following rationale has been guiding the research. First, indicators were selected to quantify and map out the state of the receptor themes (e.g. soil type, nitrogen load in rivers, breeding bird richness or landscape diversity). Second, indicators to quantify pressures from agriculture were identified (e.g. livestock density, pesticide usage, agricultural land cover type). In a third step threshold levels have been assigned to relate the potential pressures to actual risks to the receptor themes (e.g. tolerable soil loss, pesticide impact scores for arable breeding birds). The combination of the threshold levels and the pressure values was then used in a fourth step to map out environmental risk zones. Once the risk zones for components of the five environmental themes were located on a map farm level statistics were used to explain the causal relation between farm practices and the risks identified. The findings at the European level were refined, validated and tested by case studies for each of the themes. One case study, in the Spanish Region of Murcia,

looked at all environmental themes, whereas other case studies concentrated on specific environmental risks (e.g. the impact from nutrient enrichment in the Baltic Sea area on marine biodiversity through eutrophication). The environmental risk assessments carried out in the EnRisk project led to the following conclusions: a methodology using data of different resolution and accuracy was developed to assess risks posed by certain agricultural activities on environmental components; with the current data quality at European level, environmental risk assessment on a European scale allows location of risk zones at a very coarse resolution and with a high level of uncertainty. The approach developed in this project will allow for proper continent-wide risk assessment in the future, when more accurate and up-to-date environmental data become available. This is especially true for the topics of eutrophication, biodiversity and landscape; interpretation of risk maps requires forecasting of scenarios in agricultural land use changes. To date, such forecast information is unavailable to make proper judgements; the agri-environmental indicators that have been developed in the ELISA project, at the level of EU or by OECD, have proven to be a good starting point for risk assessment; the Corine land cover classes have been identified on the basis of satellite remote sensing and are therefore nonexclusive and not always accurate. The recent results of the CLC 2000 project may increase the quality of these data; the species distribution data from the European biological atlases using a 50x50 km grid are too coarse for a Europeanwide analysis. Although general assessments can be made, the data resolution and reliability do not allow for interpretation of risk regions with the precision required. For this purpose, it would be a high priority to survey European biodiversity at finer resolution. The above conclusions lead to the following

be treated with high priority for conservation and for implementation of agri-environmental measures; areas with high pressures are highlighted on a European scale to alert to prime activities for mitigation: for soil erosion: southern and central Spain, parts of Italy and Greece; for nutrient enrichment: the Netherlands, northwest Germany and northern France; for pesticides: the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), northwest Germany and south Germany; for biodiversity and landscapes: most new EU Member States and Eastern European countries, northern Germany, Greece and southern Spain; therefore, the increased concern for environmental matters in agricultural policy (CAP reform, Biodiversity Action Plan for agriculture, reinforced EU Rural Development policy) should be reflected through an undelayed implementation of the proposed actions; the implementation of agri-environmental measures should take into account the regional differentiation and the differences between environmental themes, as demonstrated in this report, as a basis for achieving improvements; an integrated approach in treating risks from agricultural practices on the environment is adopted. Such an approach could limit the risks of knock-on effects from different environmental themes; sustainability impact assessments should be undertaken as a standard practice for planned changes in agricultural land use at larger scales; livestock density is considered to be an indicator for the broader process of intensification of agriculture, rather than only for nutrient pollution. With regard to data: increased effort should be put in improving and updating European agricultural and environmental data sets with regards to their accuracy, scientific rigorousness, geographical coverage, accessibility, format and comparability; the indicators that have been developed by EnRisk should be used in related projects on agri-environmental relationships, such as the IRENA project and in the implementation of agri-environmental indicators by OECD countries; an increased sampling effort to acquire representative biological data at sufficiently detailed taxonomic and spatial resolution including for highly indicative taxa currently not

recommendations:
With regard to agri-environmental measures: the indicative maps of environmental risk areas in Europe should be interpreted as a confirmation of the severity of agricultural impacts on the environment across large parts of Europe; areas with high sensitivity and currently under low to medium pressures (mostly in new EU Member States) should

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well represented in regular data collection, such as butterflies and plants should be supported and advocated by the responsible authorities; international organizations responsible for European data collection and processing should continue and increase their cooperation in order to fully integrate biodiversity and environmental data at relevant scales; the EnRisk methodology should be further refined with new data sets, most notably land cover change data deriving from the CLC 2000, in order to develop environmental risk indicators that can be applied at European as well as regional level; research efforts towards assessing risks to biodiversity should be increased. In this respect it is recommended that the Integrated Project ALARM (Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods, funded by the EUs Sixth Framework Programme) (UFZ, 2004) builds on the findings from EnRisk. With regard to farming practices and their relation to environmental risks: for biodiversity conservation, priority should be given to areas that are identified as highly sensitive because of the relatively low agricultural inputs and high value for biodiversity; soil protection measures to prevent soil loss by water erosion are in the first place required for areas with perennial crops. Examples for such measures are terracing, mulching or green cover between the rows (where sufficient water is available); semi-natural grasslands are treated with high priority because of the multiple pressures from agriculture (including practices such as conversion into crop, reseeding, drainage, abandonment, high fertilization, and high stocking densities) and their high value for biodiversity and landscape protection.

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Introduction

The aim of the EnRisk project is to provide scientifically sound support to national and international agrienvironmental policy by: investigating the role of risk assessment for five environmental themes (soil erosion, nutrient enrichment, pesticide use, biodiversity, landscape) as a tool for policy implementation; reviewing and interpreting existing environmental and socio-economic information and its effectiveness for policy objectives; identifying environmentally sensitive areas and risk zones in Europe; testing the reliability of European information for assessing sustainable agricultural land use by comparing it with regional case studies; providing recommendations for future assessments and policy implementation. Throughout the project duration it has become clear, as is demonstrated in this report, that the aim to provide policy recommendations with the intention to influence agricultural policy to the benefit of the environment was somewhat over ambitious. The reason for this is that the scientific state of affairs for environmental risk assessment at a large scale requires much scientific and technical development. Instead

Assessing the risks from agriculture to the environment is a relatively new field of research. Traditionally environmental risk assessment focuses on the effects of a deteriorated or polluted environment on human health. With the increasing awareness of the environmental impacts of agricultural practices and the need to take policy measures to counteract them, the need for risk assessments has grown. The project that led to this publication is a contribution to risk assessment that focuses on the risks for the environment, looked at from a European perspective. The current report presents the outcome of the project Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture or EnRisk. The European Unions Fifth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities funds the EnRisk project as a follow-up to the ELISA project (Environmental Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture, Fourth Framework Programme, FAIR-CT97-3448; Wascher, 2000a), both of which have been coordinated by ECNC-European Centre for Nature Conservation.

the focus was on technical and methodological issues and the feasibility of environmental risk assessment at the European scale. Therefore, the questions that the EnRisk project aims to answer are of a more methodological nature, such as: Can environmental risk assessment (ERA) be used as a decision support tool for agricultural policy at the European scale? Are the current sets of agri-environmental indicators (AEIs) and agricultural and environmental data suitable for the purpose of European ERA and to identify environmental risk zones? What needs to be done to fill gaps in indicators, data, knowledge or expertise, if needed? What policy decision can be taken on the basis of European ERA for agriculture? It should be clear from the outset that this project does not geographically delimit specific areas in Europe that are of higher risk to certain agricultural pressures. Rather, it gives an indication of broad regions with potentially higher risks.

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More importantly, the project has devised a methodology that can be used for more specific risk assessments if data availability and quality is improved. Chapter 1 of this publication provides a general presentation of the background to the project: the relationship between agriculture and the environment, agri-environmental policies, agri-environmental indicators and the method used in the EnRisk project. Chapter 2 contains the results of the European phase of the project, in which environmental risks have been assessed at a continental scale. For each of the five environmental themes a description is given of the used data sets, the method, results and interpretation. The chapter ends with a section that integrates the separate environmental themes while relating the identified risks to farm practices. Chapter 3 summarizes the results from case studies that were undertaken to test the methodology, to refine findings or to illustrate other issues. The findings of the European and case study research are reviewed in Chapter 4, which leads to the studys conclusions in Chapter 5 and recommendations in Chapter 6.

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14 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agriculture and the environment

Environmental risk assessment and agriculture


1.1 Agriculture and the environment
Since its origin in the Near East some 10,000 years ago agriculture has had impacts on the environment. These impacts resulted from the conversion of what was before wild land that was the result of purely natural ecological processes into areas for cropping and raising livestock. This conversion has always involved a number of human inputs, ranging from cutting or burning of forest, the mechanical ploughing of the land, the sowing of desired crops, input of nutrients and more recently chemical products such as artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Until the Middle Ages the intensity and extent with which agriculture was practised was at a relatively low level, due to low human population size and therefore low demand and to the state of development of agricultural practices. Since that time, and especially since the 19th century, both agricultural intensity and extent have rapidly increased worldwide. Detailed overviews of the development of agriculture throughout human history have been described elsewhere (e.g. Nowicki, 1997). It has been recognized that two opposite processes are influencing the environmental impact of agriculture: intensification and marginalization/abandonment (Baldock et al., 1996). Agriculture can have both negative and positive impacts on the environment (OECD, 1997; Delbaere, 2002).

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Figure 1

General relationship between agricultural intensity and biodiversity value

Biodiversity

Intensity of agriculture

Source: adapted from EEA, 2004a

On the positive side examples are mainly with the effect of small-scale and low intensity farming practices on the increased variation in habitat types and their associated species diversity. This has led to local increase of biodiversity value in many places in Europe. On the negative side, for example, the high levels of pesticide input on large parcels has led to surface and groundwater pollution, with successive negative impacts on economy (e.g. high purification costs), biodiversity and human health. Whether or not an impact of a trend in agriculture (intensification or extensification) has negative effects depends on the baseline situation of a given (agro)ecosystem. For example, starting from a high nature value farmland area that has developed through century-long low intensity farming practices an increase in intensity of fertilizer use or an increase of scale will most likely have negative effects on biodiversity. On the other hand, as indicated above, an area that has never been farmed and that by nature has poor environmental conditions (low nutrient levels, low water levels) may benefit from some form of agricultural use which might lead to reduced risk for soil erosion, desertification or to higher local biodiversity levels. Figure 1 illustrates this baseline-dependent effect for the impact of agricultural intensification on biodiversity. With over half of Europes land area being used for agriculture, this is clearly the most dominant and impacting land use type. The European Environment Agency (EEA, 2000)

states that Agriculture remains a major source of pressure on the environment becoming even more intensive and specialized. Areas of general concern include: emissions of pollutants, particularly greenhouse gases, and fertilizer run-off into water systems; lower population levels of both rare and once-common wildlife species, particularly birds as indicator species; loss of traditional landscapes due either to simplification (e.g. removal of field boundaries, more monoculture) or to abandonment (desertification) or degradation (unused terracing, farm buildings, etc.). Policies have been developed at national and international levels (see next section) to regulate agriculture, including for environmental benefits. However, with the diversity of environmental conditions in Europe the environmental impacts from agriculture are regionally different and require a regional approach. The EnRisk project aims to provide a tool for identifying those regions in Europe that are more sensitive to agricultural pressures and that are at risk of further environmental deterioration. This identification of regional differences will help policymakers at the European level set priorities for implementing agri-environmental measures, focusing on those regions that are at highest environmental risk.

16 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agriculture and the environment / Agri-environmental

1.2 Agri-environmental policies in Europe


Since 1992, with the MacSharry reform of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), environmental considerations have increasingly been integrated into agricultural policy throughout the European Union (EU). This reform for the first time included environmental conditions related to agricultural policies, clustered in the accompanying measures. Especially the accompanying measures in Council Regulation (EEC) 2078/92 on agri-environmental measures were a turning point in EU agricultural policy. It had affected 20% of the EUs agricultural area in 1999 (CEC, 1999a). The 1992 reform of the CAP reduced market and price support measures, and a system of direct payments was introduced to compensate farmers for the loss of income. Such a system included payments on a per hectare basis for the production of cereals, oilseed and protein crops, as well as for beef, sheep and goats (on a per headage basis). A second major reform round of the CAP was linked to the EUs Agenda 2000 discussions, which were agreed in March 1999 in Berlin. One of the main concerns driving the reform of the CAP in this round was the forthcoming enlargement of the EU with the then potentially 13 new Member States as well as the forthcoming negotiations to liberalize agricultural trade. Continuing the CAP in its form of 2001 with 28 Member States would be extremely expensive (Lowe & Brouwer, 2000). However, during these reform discussions stronger integration of environmental concerns into agricultural policy was also envisaged. This resulted amongst others in the shift of aid for crop output to direct area payments and the increases in headage support payments that benefited organic producers. Cross-compliance environmental measures attaching environmental conditions to the receipt of agricultural support payments in Article 3 of the Common Rules Regulation 1259/1999, as well as in the Rural Development Regulation 1257/1999, are other major environmental achievements of this reform. The latter is called the second pillar of agricultural policy, the first one relating to market support measures. The types of measures that may be taken under Article 3 of the Common Rules Regulation are threefold: support in return for agri-environmental commitments; general mandatory requirements; specific environmental requirements constituting a condition for direct payments (i.e. cross-compliance). The mid-term review of the CAP (COM(2002) 394, CEC, 2002a),

as presented by Agriculture Commissioner Fischler in July 2002, contained the basis for a stronger environmental component for agricultural policy. Multifunctionality of agriculture (production of environmental, socio-cultural and economic services other than food and fibre production) is becoming a key issue in the reforms. External reasons for such a reform included negotiations on a new agricultural agreement within the World Trade Organization (WTO), enlargement of the EU, agreements of Agenda 21 for a sustainable development and the need to respond to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Also, domestic arguments became evident to reform agricultural policy, including consumer pressure reducing confidence in the safety of meat products, negative impacts of agricultural policy on environment and animal welfare, and the consideration of ecological and social benefits of agriculture. Following the reforms from June 2003, Member States shall define, either at national or regional level, minimum requirements for good agricultural and environmental practices. A framework for good agricultural and environmental conditions needs to be implemented, considering standards on soil erosion, soil organic matter, soil structure and to ensure a minimum level of maintenance and avoid the deterioration of habitats (e.g. protection of permanent pasture, retention of landscape features and avoiding the encroachment of unwanted vegetation on agricultural land). The CAP reform is implemented by way of three Commission Regulations: (EC) 796/2004 on crosscompliance, controls and modulation; (EC) 795/2004 on Single Farm Payment; and (EC) 2237/2003 on direct support schemes. In the following sections more specific policies on the topics that are dealt with within EnRisk are described. Before doing so, it is worth mentioning here that the EU also has a Directive that specifically deals with environmental risk assessments (93/67/EEC). However, this Risk Assessment Directive deals with risks from specific substances to man and the environment (as notified in Council Directive 67/548/EEC) and has therefore a different focus than the EnRisk project.

1.2.1 Policy focused on nutrient enrichment


Nutrient enrichment by nitrates and phosphorus is a high priority in Europe. Contamination of both surface and groundwater and soils is a serious problem in parts of Europe. Standards for the collection, treatment and discharge of urban wastewater and wastewater from some

policies in Europe

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industrial sectors are defined in the Urban Waste Water Directive (91/271/EEC). Main sources of eutrophication are farming, industry, sewage systems and urban wastewater treatment plants. Limit values are specified in the Directive with discharges to sensitive areas where nitrogen and/or phosphorus removal is prescribed. Major reductions need to be achieved in case total phosphorus discharge from urban wastewater treatment plants to sensitive areas exceeds 2 mg P per litre (for agglomerations between 10,000 and 100,000 population equivalents (p.e.)) and 1 mg P per litre (at least 100,000 p.e.). Requirements are also formulated for discharge of nitrogen exceeding 10 mg N per litre (at least 100,000 p.e.) and 15 mg N per litre (10,000100,000 p.e.). In Poland, Belgium (mainly in Flanders) and the United Kingdom, phosphorus levels exceed 0.5 mg P per litre in more than half of the rivers. Also, the highest nitrogen levels are found in rivers in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Luxembourg, Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria (Kristensen & Hansen, 1994). Here, the concentration exceeds 2.5 mg N per litre in more than half of the rivers. In addition to the Waste Water Directive, the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC) also adopts measures to reduce and further prevent pollution of water for drinking water purposes from agricultural sources. The Nitrates Directive requires the application of Good Agricultural Practice to be applied with mandatory measures to be adopted in regions that are designated as nitrate vulnerable zones. More recently, the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) requires the achievement of good chemical and ecological status in all surface waters and good chemical status including trend reversal in all groundwater. Agriculture is an important source of pollution, which needs to be controlled to achieve the objectives of the Nitrates Directive and the Water Framework Directive.

179, CEC, 2002c) Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, which is the first occasion on which the Commission has addressed soil protection for its own sake. In that Communication soil erosion is identified as one of the most severe soil degradation processes in Europe. In response to the Communication the European Parliament (2003) released a resolution on the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, in which the Commission is called to reverse the alarming trend towards erosion and to provide a methodical assessment and mapping of European soil, based on principles that should be designed to prevent soil erosion. The Commission is urged to draw up a scientific soil catalogue, which should include erosion processes. Recently a Technical Working Group on Erosion as one component of a European thematic strategy for soil protection was established and seven work packages were created with the following objectives (Dwel, 2004): pressures and drivers causing erosion in Europe; nature and extent of soil erosion in Europe; impacts of soil erosion; measures and policy instruments to address soil erosion (prevention and remediation); link with organic matter and contamination; desertification; monitoring soil erosion in Europe.

1.2.3 Policies on pesticide use


Two Directives affect directly the use of pesticides in Europe. The placing on the market is regulated at the Community level by the Council Directive 91/414/EEC, while the Council Directive 79/117/EEC prohibits the placing on the market of pesticides containing certain active substances. The Directives on Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) on food and feed stuffs, the European Directive on Drinking Water (80/778/EEC, amended by Directive 98/83/EC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) also aim at risk prevention and risk reduction, but are placed more at the end-of-life stage of pesticides. In 2002 the Commission started a communication process to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee: Towards a Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (COM (2002) 349, CEC, 2002d). The main objectives of the Thematic Strategy as defined by the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme are: to minimize the hazards and risks to health and environment from the use of pesticides; to improve controls on the use and distribution of pesticides;

1.2.2 Soil erosion policy


Soil protection has become a major concern for EU politics in the last few years. In 2001 the European Commission adopted a proposal Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice which, amongst other areas, emphasized the importance of soil. In 2002 the Commission launched a soil protection strategy placing soil on the same level with water and air (CEC, 2002b). Erosion was seen as one of the major problems across the EU in that context. As a first step in the development of an encompassing EU policy to protect soils against erosion and pollution, the Commission has published a Communication (COM(2002)

18 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agri-environmental policies in Europe

to reduce the levels of harmful active substances including through substituting the most dangerous with safer, including non-chemical, alternatives; to encourage the use of low input or pesticide free cultivation among others through raising users awareness, promoting the use of codes of good practices, and promoting consideration of the possible application of financial instruments; to establish a transparent system for reporting and monitoring progress made in fulfilling the objectives of the strategy including the development of suitable indicators.

countries to designate areas as part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. The Habitats Directive lists 198 habitat types of Community interest in its Annex 1, of which 28 depend on extensive agricultural management (EEA, 2004a). At the pan-European level the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS; Council of Europe et al., 1996) provides the most important policy framework, including for the relation between agriculture and biodiversity. Within the remit of PEBLDS the Kyiv Resolution on Biodiversity, adopted at the fifth ministerial conference Environment for Europe in May 2003 (ECE/CEP/108), includes a target on agriculture and biodiversity which says:

1.2.4 Policies on agriculture and biodiversity


Within the CAP it is primarily the second pillar that allows Member States to implement measures to reduce the impacts of agriculture on biodiversity. Of these measures two are of specific importance to high nature value (HNV) farmland (EEA, 2004a): agri-environment schemes as part of the revised rural development regulation (1783/2003, replacing 1257/1999) allow for support to farmers for environmentally favourable measures; less favoured area payments to compensate farmers for social or environmental constraints of the area they work in. When applied properly they may provide an effective way to prevent abandonment of (HNV) farmland. A policy plan that has been designed specifically for the integration of biodiversity concerns within agriculture is the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for Agriculture (CEC, 2001a) as part of the European Community Biodiversity Strategy (ECBS; CEC, 1998). This Action Plan defines specific activities to achieve the objectives for agriculture as defined in the ECBS. The Strategy is the EUs response to the global CBD. The basic principles for the BAP for agriculture have been formulated in the Commissions document Directions towards sustainable agriculture (CEC, 1999b). While giving a clear indication of what is at stake in the relation between agriculture and biodiversity, this document formulated measures that may benefit biodiversity. The most important ones are included in the rural development measures (e.g. preserving the natural heritage to increase tourist potential of rural areas), which include the agri-environment measures (e.g. set-aside) and the compensatory allowances in less favoured areas (mentioned above). Two EU Directives that are of most importance to biodiversity conservation are the Birds (79/409/EEC) and Habitats (92/43/ EEC) Directives. Together they include the obligation for

By 2006, the identification, using agreed common criteria, of all high nature value areas in agricultural ecosystems in the pan-European region will be complete. By 2008, a substantial proportion of these areas will be under biodiversity-sensitive management by using appropriate mechanisms such as rural development instruments, agri-environmental programmes and organic agriculture, to inter alia support their economic and ecological viability. By 2008, financial subsidy and incentive schemes for agriculture in the pan-European region will take the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in consideration.

This target derives from recommendations that were formulated at the High-level pan-European conference on agriculture and biodiversity that was organized by the Council of Europe with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the French Government in Paris in June 2002. Amongst others the participants to this conference recommended the further identification of HNV areas in agricultural ecosystems in order to apply appropriate management practices for the conservation of agro-biodiversity. A draft action plan (STRA-CO (2004) 3b) to achieve the target mentioned above was approved by the Bureau of the PEBLDS Council in May 2004. Finally, at the global level a policy focusing on agriculture and biodiversity is embedded in the activities of the CBD. A programme of work on agricultural biological diversity is being implemented. However, the focus of this work programme is on genetic resources for food and agriculture, which have not been covered by the EnRisk project.

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1.2.5 European landscape policies


The main focus of landscape conservation in Europe has traditionally been oriented towards scenic beauty, natural and cultural heritage, traditional land management, historical features and recreational functions. In light of the growing responsibilities of European institutions in the field of sustainable development and human welfare, landscapes receive increasing policy and research attention for offering integrative concepts as well as operational tools for bridging the gap between environmental and socio-economic objectives (Wascher, 2000b). As a consequence, traditional conservation approaches such as the UNESCO Cultural Landscapes initiative and the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, 2000) co-exist with integrated policies such as in agriculture (Agenda 2000) and in spatial planning (European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP)). In 1992 the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention, adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1972) became the first international legal instrument to recognize and protect World Heritage Cultural Landscapes. The inclusion of cultural landscapes has significant consequences for: the recognition of intangible values and for the heritage of local communities; the importance of protecting biological diversity by maintaining cultural diversity; the management ensuring the conservation of cultural properties or landscapes; the interpretation, presentation, and management of the properties. The European Landscape Convention is an initiative of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. This Convention (also Florence Convention) aims at protection, management and planning of all landscapes, and to raise awareness for the values of a living landscape. In fact it stresses the right of the people to identify themselves with their landscape, and the right of the landscape to be taken care of. Although the Convention is a relatively weak policy document in terms of legal obligations and power, it represents a real concern with the threatened landscapes of Europe and a substantial appeal to the Member States to establish an active landscape policy. Rural Development Plans within the framework of the EU Agenda 2000 provide the basis for regional monitoring

schemes that take into account the carrying capacity of the region issues of high relevance for landscapes. The second pillar includes a relatively small proportion of total CAP funds, but the decoupling process has opened agricultural policies to overall rural development and could facilitate turning some of the natural handicaps of mountains and other Less Favoured Areas (LFA) into advantages: for instance, cultural heritage, landscape, high-quality products, diversification (Nordregio, 2004). The dominant objective for LFA policy is to maintain farm management in less-favoured areas based on environmental principles and provision of other functions beyond food production. Agri-environmental measures remain mandatory and are simplified. The budget allows only for expansion at the rate of inflation to 2006. Agri-environmental measures have yet to cover a large proportion of tradional and cultural landscapes, especially in countries with a large share of marginal farming systems. The new Article 16 of the Rural Development Regulation, which allows compensation payments in Natura 2000 sites, for example, is of special interest for future landscape management according to environmental standards. The impacts on landscape quality that have been associated with agricultural intensification include (Stapleton et al., 2000): removal of field boundaries (which also includes loss of habitats for flora and fauna); destruction of archaeological monuments; and detrimental impacts on the environment such as pollution of river water, eutrophication of lakes, and significant contributions to methane gas emissions. Different priorities and concerns of the first wave of agrienvironment programmes have been identified at national and sub-national level by the project Implementation and effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes established under Regulation 2078/92 (FAIR1 CT95-274; Schramek et al., 1999). These comprise: a focus on nature and landscape protection and on mechanisms for changing agricultural land management; the economic support of marginal agricultural activities threatened by the abandonment of farming and compensation for natural handicaps is an important part of the programme in places such as southern France, parts of Spain, Portugal and much of Greece; farm-based pollution is a concern in a number of countries such as Germany and Denmark; agricultural modernization and structural reform has been an important goal in southern European countries in particular.

20 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agri-environmental policies in Europe /

1.3 Agri-environmental indicators

1.3.1

The ELISA project

The research project ELISA (Environmental Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture), funded by the EUs Fourth Framework Programme (FAIR-CT97-3448) and coordinated by ECNC, proposed a list of state and pressure indicators (Table 3 and in Section 1.5.4) for selected environmental components: soil, water, biodiversity and landscape (Wascher, 2000a). These indicators had been proposed on the basis of an analysis of their relevance, reliability and feasibility for specific topics. The ELISA project led to a specific recommendation to develop and test agricultural risk indicators to define zones of high risk for negative environmental impacts. This recommendation led to the development of the EnRisk project, which is a follow-up to ELISA.

1.3.2 European Union and the IRENA project


With the change in agricultural policy in the European Union as described in Section 1.2 the EU also started developing a set of AEIs. Of particular importance in this respect are the two Commission communications that list a set of indicators as well as the data needs to underpin them: Indicators for the Integration of Environmental Concerns into the Common There is increased awareness of the environmental impacts from agriculture. Agri-environmental measures are being introduced and the Cardiff process advocates the integration of environmental concerns into sectoral policies. These processes lead to a growing need for indicators that help simplify and communicate the often complex relationships between agricultural pressures and environmental impacts. Indicators that are designed or used for this particular relationship are called agri-environmental indicators, abbreviated AEIs. The development of AEIs in many cases is structured according to the DPSIR framework (Driving Force Pressure State Impact Response) as used by the EEA. This framework is also adopted within the EnRisk project, as it provides a useful way of relating causes to effects and responses in a policy-relevant way. Many initiatives are developing AEIs for specific purposes (see e.g. Brouwer & Crabtree, 1999 and EEA, 2004b for an overview), of which some of most relevance to EnRisk are described below. The full indicator lists from these initiatives are included in Table 1 to 4. Agricultural Policy (COM(2000) 20 final; CEC, 2000) and Statistical information needed for Indicators to monitor the Integration of Environmental concerns into the Common Agricultural Policy (COM(2001) 144 final; CEC, 2001a). These indicators (Table 1) have been proposed for the Commission to report on the integration of environmental concerns into Community sectoral policies. A joint project with EC services (Directorates-General Agriculture, Environment, Eurostat (European Statistical Office), Joint Research Centre (JRC) and EEA) has been set up to develop and compile the indicators as defined in the Commission communications, to provide related agri-environmental data sets and to produce a first indicator report and assessment (EEA, 2004c). This IRENA project (Indicator Reporting on the integration of Environmental Concerns into Agricultural Policy) is ended in December 2004. An additional EC project in support of providing the statistical information for the above-mentioned indicators is LUCAS (Land Use/Cover Area Frame Statistical Survey). In a stepped approach, this project focuses more on territorial components and the use of spatial data sets, such as Corine Land Cover (CLC) (EEA, 2001a; Galego, 2002).

Agri-environmental indicators

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Table 1

Agri-environmental indicators as identified by the European Commission COM(2001) 144 final for assessing

the integration of environmental concerns into the agricultural sector


DPSIR reference Responses Public policy No 1 2 3 4 Market signals 5.1 5.2 Technology and skills Attitudes Driving forces Input use 6 7 8 9 10 11 Land use 12 13 Management Trends 14 15 16 17 Pressures Pollution 18 19 20 21 Resource depletion 22 23 24 25 Benefits 26 27 State Biodiversity Natural resources 28 29 30 31 Landscape Impact Habitats and biodiversity Natural resources 32 33 34.1 34.2 34.3 Landscape diversity Source: adapted from CEC, 2001b 35 Indicator Area under agri-environment support Good farming practice Environmental targets Nature protection Organic producer prices Agricultural income of organic farmers Holders training levels Organic farming Fertilizer consumption Pesticide consumption Water use Energy use Topological change Cropping/livestock patterns Management practices Intensification/extensification Diversification Marginalization Surface nutrient balance CH4 emissions Pesticide soil contamination Water contamination Ground water abstraction/water stress Soil erosion Land cover change Genetic diversity High nature value areas Renewable energy sources Species richness Soil quality Nitrates/pesticides in water Ground water levels Land use matrix Habitat and biodiversity GHG emissions Nitrate contamination Water use Agricultural and global diversity

22 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agri-environmental indicators

Table 2

Complete list of OECD agri-environmental indicators

I. Agriculture in the broader economic, social and environmental context 1. Contextual information and indicators Agricultural GDP Agricultural output Farm employment Farmer age/gender distribution Farmer education Number of farms Agricultural support II. Farm management and the environment 1. Farm management Whole farm management - Environmental whole farm management plans - Organic farming Nutrient management - Nutrient management plans - Soil tests Pest management - Use of non-chemical pest control methods - Use of integrated pest management III. Use of farm inputs and natural resources 1. Nutrient use Nitrogen balance Nitrogen efficiency 2. Pesticide use and risks Pesticide use Pesticide risk 3. Water use Water use intensity Water use efficiency - Water use technical efficiency - Water use economic efficiency Water stress IV. Environmental impacts of agriculture 1. Soil quality Risk of soil erosion by water Risk of soil erosion by wind 2. Water quality Water quality risk indicator Water quality state indicator 5. Biodiversity Genetic diversity Species diversity - Wild species - Non-native species Ecosystem diversity 6. Wildlife habitats Intensively farmed agricultural habitats Semi-natural agricultural habitats Uncultivated natural habitats Habitat matrix 7. Landscape Structure of landscapes - Environmental features and land use patterns - Man-made objects (cultural features) Landscape management Landscape costs and benefits Source: adapted from OECD, 2001 3. Land conservation 4. Greenhouse gases Soil and land management - Soil cover - Land management practices Irrigation and water management - Irrigation technology Land use - Stock of agricultural land - Change in agricultural land - Agricultural land use 2. Farm financial resources Farm income Agri-environmental expenditure - Public and private agri-environmental expenditure - Expenditure on agri-environmental research

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1.3.3 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has developed AEIs for its member countries to measure the environmental performance of agriculture. While focusing on policy analysis, the OECD indicators are developed using the DSR framework (Driving force State Response). Agri-environmental indicators for environmental impacts of agriculture are developed and produced for soil quality, water quality, land conservation, greenhouse gases, biodiversity, wildlife habitats and landscape (Table 2; OECD, 2001). Within the process of developing AEIs the OECD has conducted specific studies and consultations on indicators for selected components, such as for biodiversity (OECD, 2003) and landscape (NIJOS, 2003).

1.4 Environmental risk assessment


ERA is part of a wider process of environmental risk analysis. Risk analysis is an approach including tools for identifying and comparing environmental costs and benefits of decision options (Cornell University, 2004). It includes two major components: risk assessment and risk management with stakeholder involvement being embedded in between and throughout these stages. Environmental risk assessment on the one hand is a scientific process. It is a key tool to help judging where the balance should be between environmental protection and economic and technological development. A general framework for ERA includes a number of key steps, which are illustrated in Figure 2. Risk management on the other hand is a policy process that follows on from the results from risk assessment and that requires judgement of importance and taking of priorities and choices to prevent or reduce certain risks. The EnRisk project considers the risk assessment steps, of which the principles are applied to agricultural policy. Traditionally ERA has a strong focus on risks related to ecotoxicology and human health. Also ecological risk assessment (EcoRA), although focusing on living organisms in the variety of ecosystems, has concentrated on risks from chemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (Fairman et al., 1998). This means that the type of risk assessment that is undertaken in the current project is different and has not been developed very well to date, especially where it regards risks to biodiversity and landscapes. An effort to address this gap is made by EnRisk. For the current project environmental risk assessment is defined as the examination of risks resulting from agricultural land use practices that threaten ecosystems, wildlife and physical components of the landscape. The steps carried out as part of the EnRisk environmental risk assessment are described in more detail in Section 1.5. The steps that have been taken address a number of questions that ensure that the outputs from an environmental risk assessment help in decision-making (adapted from Defra, 2000): What impacts from agriculture to the environment may occur? How harmful are these impacts to the environment? How likely is it that these impacts will occur? How frequently and where will these impacts occur?

24 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Agri-environmental indicators / Environmental

Figure 2

Framework of environmental risk assessment

Problem formulation

Tiered risk assessment


Risk prioritisation

* Stages within each tier of risk assessment Hazard identification

Tier 1 Risk screening*

Identification of consequences
Tier 2 Generic quantitative risk assessment*

Magnitude of consequences

Tier 3 Detailed quantitative risk assessment*

Probability of consequences

Significance of the risk

Options appraisal Economics Social issues Technology


Management

Risk management Collect data, iterate processes and monitor

Source: Defra, 2000

How much confidence can be placed in the results of the risk assessment? What are the critical data gaps and can these gaps be filled? Are further iterations to the risk assessment needed? Given the geographical scope of EnRisk (Section 1.5.3) only some of these questions will be answered. Unlike with a particular development project on a certain site, it would be over ambitious to aim at identifying how likely it is that harmful impacts of agriculture as a whole to the environment

as a whole will occur at a certain frequency and location and how much confidence one could place on these findings. Instead, this project focuses on certain aspects of the complex cause-effect relationships between agriculture and the environment. For example, what are the likely impacts of high pesticide use on bird species that are associated to arable land? Or, where are the areas in Europe with the highest risk for significant soil loss due to water erosion caused by agriculture?

risk assessment

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1.5 Method applied in the EnRisk project


1.5.1 EnRisk objectives
The EnRisk project was designed as a follow-up to the ELISA project (Section 1.3.1). In general terms it aims at formulating science-based recommendations to ensure a viable and sustainable agriculture that is economically competitive on a global market. More specifically the EnRisk objectives are to: investigate the role of risk assessment for five environmental themes (soil erosion, nutrient enrichment, pesticide use, biodiversity loss, landscape change) as a tool for policy implementation; review and interpret existing environmental and socioeconomic information and its effectiveness for policy objectives; identify environmentally sensitive areas and risk zones in Europe; test the reliability of European information for assessing sustainable agricultural land use by comparing it with regional case studies; provide recommendations for future assessments and policy implementation. From the outset, EnRisk focuses on five environmental themes: soil erosion, nutrient enrichment, pesticide use, biodiversity and landscapes. This ensures the right focus to consider cause-effect relationship between these themes, with agriculture as the main driving force.

innovative thinking when incorporating aspects of vulnerability, probability of risk, and acceptable threshold levels.

1.5.3 Geographical scope


The geographical region covered by the EnRisk project consists of the 25 European Union (EU) Member States, the three EU Accession Countries, Norway and Switzerland. For practical reasons the Balkan countries and the part of Russia southwest of Lithuania have been included where appropriate. This brings the total number of countries covered to 34: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia (Kaliningrad region), Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. The geographical area covered does not include overseas territories.

1.5.4 Common framework


The EnRisk project was designed in two phases: the first phase considered environmental risk assessment at the European scale, the second phase looked at local or regional case studies. For both phases of the project, the five environmental themes covered by EnRisk focused on soil erosion, pesticide use, nutrient enrichment, biodiversity and landscapes. The method applied for each of these themes is described in the following pages. In general terms, the approach followed is visualized in Figure 3.

1.5.2 Scientific added value


The EnRisk project adds value and innovation to science in the following way: agri-environmental indicators that have been proposed and developed to date are tested for the concrete purpose of environmental risk assessment. This provides insight in their suitability for this purpose; the type of integrated environmental risk assessment, linking five themes and their interrelations and the causeeffect relations with agricultural land use practices, that is done by EnRisk has never been carried out before; the focus of 'conventional' risk assessment is on ecotoxicology and human health, whereas EnRisk looks at ecological risk assessment by assessing risk to ecosystems and their components; assessing risks from agriculture to biodiversity and landscapes has never been tried before in Europe and will need

Step 1: Formulating the problem


The overall problem under view in the EnRisk project is formulated as follows: European agriculture affects water, soil, biodiversity and landscapes, which can reduce its own sustainability (economically, socially and environmentally). There is a need for objective and geographically referenced measures that policymakers can use to achieve more sustainable agriculture. Based on the objectives as listed in Section 1.5.1. the following research questions depict the problem in more specific terms: Can ERA be used as a decision support tool for agricultural policy at the European scale? Are the current sets of AEIs and agricultural and environmental data suitable for the purpose of European ERA

26 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Method applied in the EnRisk project

and to identify environmental risk zones? What needs to be done to fill gaps in indicators, data, knowledge or expertise, if needed? What policy decision can be taken on the basis of European ERA for agriculture?

view it has not been possible to select one indicator to reflect the state of an entire environmental theme. Instead themes have been split up in as little components as needed to demonstrate the developed methodology (see Chapter 2 for the indicators that have been used).

Step 2: Describing the baseline


For each of the themes considered by EnRisk a baseline or reference situation is described from which risk assessment will start. This baseline is described and quantified using state indicators: indicators that can be used to measure the state of a theme at a certain point in time. For each environmental theme covered by EnRisk state indicators have been selected and defined. The indicators resulting from the ELISA project (Table 3) have been assessed on their suitability for EnRisk. Where necessary these have been complemented with other sets for each of the environmental themes (Section 1.3). Given the complexity of the environmental themes under

Step 3: Screening the pressures and risks


A second component in describing the cause-effect relationships between agriculture and the environment is to identify the pressures (in ERA usually called hazards) from agriculture on soil, water, biodiversity and landscape. For this purpose pressure indicators were selected for each environmental theme. Again the set of indicators as developed in the ELISA project formed the starting point for EnRisk (Table 4). Because from the outset EnRisk focused on five environmental themes, the pressures considered by the project have been restricted to these themes. Basically, the use of pesticides and fertilizers as well as livestock density were the key pressures under view, with water, soil, biodiversity and landscapes as the receptors of the pressures.

Figure 3

Workflow model for the EnRisk project

This restriction is in a way unfortunate, because EnRisk did not cover other major pressures such as land use change (increase of scale, abandonment). This inherently means also

Problem formulation
Indicator selection (state & pressure)
Data collection, processing and mapping Identification of thresholds for vulnerability
Combining state, vulnerability and pressure into risk indicators

that the risks considered by EnRisk are only those that relate to the pressures selected. Chapter 2 describes the pressure indicators that have been selected per theme.
feedback process of refinement and re-assessment

Step 4: Identifying the data sources


For the selected indicators (both for state and for pressure) European databases have been selected and collected for producing European maps with sensitive areas for each theme (outcome of state indicators) as well as pressure maps. In order for databases to be useful for EnRisk the information in the databases had to be geographically referenced, cover as much as possible of the projects geographical scope, be as accurate and up-to-date as possible and be readily accessible and free to use for this scientific project. The principle of using best available data has been applied throughout the project. Key data sources for most of the environmental themes at European level are those held by Eurostat for agricultural data, the EEAs environmental data sets, soil data from the European Soil Bureau and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), species distribution data from species atlas committees, and land cover data from Corine. Comprehensive overviews of the databases used are

adjust / focus

Mapping of risk zones Integrating risk zones for multiple themes


Risk management / policy response

Note: the dotted box is not part of the EnRisk process

provided in the respective sections in Chapter 2.

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Table 3

Agri-environmental state indicators resulting from the ELISA project


Indicator code S.1 S.2 S.3 S.4 Indicator Water erosion Wind erosion Soil compaction Pesticides in soil Nitrate in rivers Nitrate in groundwater Nitrate in drinking water Pesticides in groundwater Pesticides in rivers/surface waters Groundwater level Spatial complexity Corridors and linkages between habitat types Size/% of characteristic habitat types Flagship species Species richness Species population trends Genetic diversity in semi-natural agro-ecosystems Genetic diversity in farm species Biophysical adequateness of land use Openness versus closedness Adequateness of key cultural features Land recognised for its scenic or scientific value

Theme Soil

Water

W.1 W.2 W.3 W.4 W.5 W.6

Biodiversity

B.1 B.2 B.3 B.4 B.5 B.6 B.7 B.8

Landscape

L.1 L.2 L.3 L.4

Source: Wascher, 2000a

For the European-scale assessment a 50x50 km grid resolution was chosen for the output maps. This resolution was chosen because of the limitation posed by the European species distribution data, which are only available at this resolution for Europe and which are the hardest to convert into other resolutions. Given the coarse character of the European assessment and the objective to identify in general terms which broad regions of Europe can be regarded to be of relatively higher risk to certain environmental impacts, this resolution was regarded by the project team as the most appropriate common denominator.

Step 5: Producing European sensitivity and pressure maps


European-wide maps presenting the baseline for each theme were produced on the basis of the selected state indicators in step 2 and from the information held in the databases selected in step 4. These reference maps form the basis to refer pressures and risks to. For each theme the baseline data were combined with measures that express the sensitivity of the theme under view to agricultural pressures. This required the identification of threshold values per theme. In addition European maps presenting the geographical

28 Environmental risk assessment and agriculture / Method applied in the EnRisk project

Table 4

Agri-environmental pressure indicators resulting from the ELISA project


Theme Land use intensity Indicator code LU.1 LU.2 LU.3 LU.4 LU.5 Nutrients N.1 N.2 Pesticides P.1a P.1b P.1c P.1d P.2a+b Indicator Share of irrigated area Yield of cereals Share of farms with > 50% cereals Share of UAA in total area Livestock density N-discharge Nitrate surplus Direct usage data per pesticide Sales data per pesticide Pesticides cost per crop Estimated usage data per crop Pesticide risk

Source: Wascher, 2000a

distribution and level of pressures from agriculture were produced on the basis of the selected pressure indicators in step 3 and their respective databases. This step also considered how to integrate the maps produced for the themes of soil erosion, pesticide use and nutrient enrichment with those produced for biodiversity and landscapes, the other two EnRisk themes. All three types of maps (state, sensitivity and pressure) provide intermediary products that are required to identify, by combining the maps, the environmental risk zones per theme in Europe.

possible to predict the areas of risks for future developments in agriculture.

Step 7: Integrating environmental risk zones for multiple themes


The strength of the EnRisk project is in its integrated approach. Risk maps for individual environmental themes were combined into integrated risk maps. In this way, it has been possible to identify those areas in Europe that are of particularly high policy relevance because of their cumulated environmental impacts from agriculture or because of the combination of risks.

Step 6: Locating European environmental risk zones


By overlaying the pressure maps on top of the sensitivity maps for selected themes, a first indication is given of the potential risk zones for the combination of the pressure and environmental component under view. For each combination a further refinement was carried out by adding data layers such as the actual presence of certain land cover types or further environmental conditions. This led to the presentation of more actual risks per theme. Due to the lack of prospective data on future pressure values and the lack of historical trend data (e.g. land cover change) it has not been

Step 8: Interpretation of results


The final step in the EnRisk approach is to identify why certain areas stand out in terms of risk value. The risk maps were compared with statistics on farm level practices so as to find a causal relationship between what happens at the farm and how this may impact on environmental risks. This information then provides a basis for recommendations in terms of agricultural practices or policies.

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30 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Risk assessment at the European scale


2.1 Soil erosion
2.1.1 Assessment of the European soil loss
Soil erosion by water has been a concern throughout Europe (Auerswald & Kutilek, 1998; Gobin et al., 2004) and has been assessed by several authors. In 1990 the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment developed an approach (RIVM, 1992) to generate a scenario of soil erosion risk for 2010 and 2050. Special attention was given on climatic change and economic projections. The main advantage of the model, which is based on the USLE (Universal Soil Loss Equation, Wischmeier & Smith, 1978) and displays results at a resolution of 50 km, lies in its potential for incorporation of various environmental factors. Another widely used erosion estimation is the GLASOD map (Global Assessment of Soil Degradation, van Lynden, 1994). It was rapidly developed as an interim assessment. This worldwide study used expert knowledge to classify land area according to 12 different levels of erosion. The most recent assessment when EnRisk started was that by van der Knijff et al. (2000), which used an adapted version of the USLE and displays results at a 1x1 km grid. Another European soil erosion model based on the USLE was developed by INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France; Le Bissonnais et al., 2002). This

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empirical expert based model includes soil crusting susceptibility additionally to the usual factors of the USLE. The structure of the model is a simple decision tree and therefore it is easy to modify and display results in a map. Results are only available in erosion risk classes and they are not linked to any quantitative values. However the model can accommodate heterogeneous data resolution and quality, and does not require the use of parameters that are not available at a national scale (Grimm et al., 2002). The most up-to-date model for Europe is the PESERA approach (Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment, Van Rompaey et al., 2003). It was developed as a process-based model to quantify soil erosion by water and estimate its risk. The model is based on a runoff component, therefore it differs fundamentally from empirical models like the USLE and its derivatives. A comparison and validation of the three most recent approaches (USLE, INRA and PESERA) shows that, although improvements have been achieved by PESERA, progress has only been gradual. Further developments may be expected in the future as the European Soil Bureau is currently updating the PESERA model and preparing new releases. For EnRisk van der Knijffs USLE-based assessment was used as the latest available at the start of the project. The USLE estimates long-term average soil loss from a single field plot by sheet and rill erosion caused by rainfall. This is the most important type of soil loss upon which agricultural practice may influence. Other types of water erosion, like gully, streambank and streambed erosion, which depend to a large extent on human activities other than agriculture, are not considered. However, rill and interrill erosion are the most important types of erosion in agricultural land (Morgan, 1999). Compared to other models data requirements for the USLE model are modest. The formula of the USLE considers the effects of rain, soil resilience, slope length, steepness, plant cover, and protection measures. It therefore comprises natural conditions, indicating sensitive areas and factors, influenced by agricultural practice. Both together indicate areas at risk. Values for the single factors of the USLE have been derived empirically from field plot measurements. Soil loss is calculated as:

the energy of the raindrops and the overland flow. Values increase with the intensity and duration of the rainstorm; K is the soil erodibility factor. Erodibility indicates the resistance of soil against erosive processes like detachment from the soil mass and transport. It is primarily related to the soils ability to form aggregates of sufficient size and strength to not be detached or transported. It is mainly related to texture but also to organic matter content and other soil properties; LS is a topographic factor that combines slope length (L) with slope steepness (S). The steeper and the longer the slope, the higher the values of LS; C is the vegetation and management factor. It is used to determine the effectiveness of soil and crop management systems in terms of preventing soil loss; P is the support practice factor. It reflects the effects measures that protect the soil from erosion, like terracing or mulching. As values for the single factors are not directly available at a European scale they had to be derived from existing data. The main shortcomings from that, in addition to those implicit to the USLE itself and the scale used are: detailed information on rainfall and rainfall intensity would be needed for a direct estimation of the R-factor. But as these data are usually unavailable for standard meteorological stations throughout Europe, a simplified method was used. Estimates for rainfall erosivity are extrapolated to the whole of Europe on the basis of observations made in Tuscany and Bavaria. It is likely that erosivity has been underestimated for northern parts of Europe; the correlation between the soil texture data, as contained in the European Soil Map, and soil erodibility, is weak; the Plant Cover factor was obtained from NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) calculated from satellite images. Soil protection by dry vegetation may be underestimated. Furthermore, as annual averages have been used, seasonal differences are not taken into account; steepness was derived from a 1 km resolution elevation model, which is quite coarse and underestimates steepness (Section 3.8.3); slope length was assumed at a constant value of 50 m. This may be overestimated especially in the mountainous areas in Europe; protective measures are not taken into account; coverage does not include Great Britain, Switzerland, Scandinavia and countries belonging to Former Yugoslavia and the Baltic region.

A=R*K*LS*C*P
where: A represents the long-term average annual soil loss (metric tons/year/ha); R is the rainfall factor. It is the erosivity of the rain, caused by

32 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Threshold for soil loss


Thresholds for soil loss may be defined by various methods. In a very strict sense, the loss rate should not exceed the rate of soil formation. However, since soil formation is a very slow process, this definition would lead to the rather hypothetical conclusion that almost no soil loss at all can be tolerated. As soil loss in fact occurs at higher rates than formation across most parts of Europe, it is more realistic to consider soil loss as tolerable if no significant decline of soil fertility may be expected within a long time period (300 to 500 years; Schwertmann et al., 1987). It should however be noted that such definition takes a more agricultural than environmental perspective. Tolerance values for soil loss may therefore be chosen according to soil depth with higher permissible values for deep and lower values for shallow soils. Soil loss relative to the threshold was called erosion risk.

Table 5

Tolerable soil loss according to soil depth


Tolerable Soil Loss (t ha-1 y-1) 1 1.5 2 3 4 5 7 8 9

Soil depth (cm) <30 40 50 60 70 80 100 115 >115

2.1.2 Methodology Data sources


The European Soil Bureau (ESB) provided soil erosion data as 1x1 km digital grid layers in a Lambert Azimuthal projection. Values in this map are given in t ha year . Additionally
-1 -1

Source: Schwertmann et al., 1987; Schertz, 1983

(Soil Geographical Database); and depth to rock (Pedotransfer Rules Database). Soil depth was obtained using a two-step pedotransfer function according to Table 6 and 7. The following shortcomings have to be mentioned: in addition to the limitations implied by the scale of the European Soil Map and the rough scale of the variables, data from the depth class of an obstacle to roots and the depth to rock are inconsistent in some cases. As the depth class of an obstacle to roots is contained in the Soil Geographical Database itself whereas the depth to rock has been obtained from the FAO Soil Name, the Soil Phase and the Parent Material by pedotransfer rules, priority was given to the depth class of an obstacle to roots in case of contradictory values.

individual layers for the following USLE factors were provided: rainfall erosivity factor; soil erodibility factor; cover management factor; slope and slope length factor. Soil depth and tolerance values were computed from the Soil Geographical Database of Europe (European Soil Bureau, 1999). This map groups several Soil Type Units (STUs) into Soil Mapping Units (SMUs). SMUs are the smallest geographical units displayed and may contain more than one STU. For calculating the tolerance values the STUs with the highest percentage of area within every SMU were used. Land cover information was taken from Corine (Coordination of Information on the Environment, CEC, 1994).

Erosion risk
Risk of soil erosion is high, where soil erosion rates are high relative to tolerable soil loss. Soil erosion risk was therefore calculated as (Auerswald & Schmidt, 1986):

Tolerable soil loss


Tolerance values were set according to Schwertmann et al. (1987) and Schertz (1983), where higher rates of soil loss are tolerable at deep soils, lower rates at shallow soils (Table 5). Soil depth was derived from the Soil Geographical Database of Europe (scale 1:1,000,000) and the Pedotransfer Rules Database (both European Soil Bureau, 1999) using the variables: depth class of an obstacle to roots; presence of an impermeable layer within the soil profile

Values around or above 100 indicate areas where the current type of land use may not be sustainable and protection measures are required.

33

Table 6

Pedotransfer function for calculating soil depth - step 1


Depth to rock Soil depth results step 1 S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep): 0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm 20 cm 60 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Depth class of an obstacle to roots 0 No information

No obstacle to roots between 0 and 80 cm

S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep):

0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm

80 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Obstacle to roots between 60 and 80 cm depth

S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep):

0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm

80 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Obstacle to roots between 40 and 60 cm depth

S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep):

0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm

80 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Obstacle to roots between 20 and 40 cm depth

S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep):

0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm

80 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Obstacle to roots between 0 and 80 cm depth

S(hallow): M(oderate): D(eep): V(ery) D(eep):

0-40 cm 40-80 cm 80-120 cm > 120 cm

80 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

34 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Table 7

Pedotransfer function for calculating soil depth - step 2


Soil depth results from step 1 20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm 20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm Soil depth step 2 Presence of an impermeable layer within the soil profile 3 Impermeable layer between 40 and 80 cm Soil depth results from step 1 20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm 20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 60 cm 60 cm 60 cm 60 cm Soil depth step 2

Presence of an impermeable layer within the soil profile 0 No information

No impermeable layer within 150 cm

20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

Impermeable layer within 40 cm

20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm 20 cm

Impermeable layer between 80 and 150 cm

20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 140 cm

20 cm 30 cm 40 cm 50 cm 60 cm 70 cm 80 cm 100 cm 115 cm

35

Table 8

Agricultural land cover in Corine as used for soil erosion risk assessment in EnRisk
EnRisk Description Arable land Arable land Permanent crops Permanent crops Permanent crops Grassland Heterogeneous agricultural land Heterogeneous agricultural land Heterogeneous agricultural land

Corine land cover classification Code 211 212 221 222 223 231 241 242 243 Description Non-irrigated arable land Permanently irrigated land Vineyards Fruit trees and berry plantations Olive groves Pastures Annual crops associated with permanent crops Complex cultivation patterns Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation 244 321 Agro-forestry areas Natural grassland

Heterogeneous agricultural land Grassland

Land cover
Van der Knijffs USLE map does not account for different types of land cover. As EnRisk only deals with agricultural influences Corine Land Cover data was used as a filter to select those 1x1 km grid cells from the erosion map that are under agricultural use (Table 8). For a more detailed investigation on different types of land use and land cover the classes in Table 8 were grouped into: arable land, grassland and permanent crops. Heterogeneous agricultural land was included into all types of land use for calculation and mapping.

2.1.3 Mapping soil erosion risk zones


Maps for erosion and erosion risk were produced at a 1x1 km resolution and a 50x50 km resolution according to different types of land cover (Table 9). At the 50x50 km resolution the maps displaying the medians contain typical values within each grid cell whereas those with the 90 percentiles are indicative for high risk cases. A selection of maps is displayed in this report. Although the USLE delivers absolute values for soil loss, results are displayed at a qualitative scale for two reasons: absolute values would pretend an accuracy that is not actually achieved by the assessment and for the aim of EnRisk to highlight high-risk zones within Europe a relative scale provides sufficient information. Table 10 and 11 display how results for soil erosion and erosion risk were qualified for mapping.

Spatial aggregation
Data was aggregated from the original 1x1 km resolution to the 50x50 km grid used for EnRisk. This was done by calculating the median and the 90 percentile from all 1x1 km cells of a certain type of land cover that belonged to the same 50x50 km EnRisk grid cell. The median indicates a typical value for erosion or erosion risk in a specific 50x50 km grid cell, as 50% of all contained 1x1 km cells have lower and 50% have higher values. The 90 percentile indicates the level of the worst cases in a specific 50x50 km grid cell: 90% of all contained 1x1 km grid cells have a lower value for erosion or erosion risk.

36 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Table 9

Maps produced (X) and displayed in this report (see respective figure) for soil erosion and erosion risk
Land use Agriculture Arable land 1x1 km Figure 4 X X X 50x50 km median Figure 5, Figure 8 X X X 50x50 km 90%tile Figure 5, Figure 8 Figure 6, Figure 9 Figure 6, Figure 9 Figure 7, Figure 10

Permanent crops Grassland

Table 10

Qualification of erosion risk for mapping


Qualification

Table 11

Qualification of soil erosion for mapping


Qualification

Soil loss/tolerable soil loss (%) 0-20 21-50 51-100 101-200 201-400 >400

Soil loss by water erosion (t ha-1 y-1)

very low low medium high very high extreme

0-1 1-2 2-5 5-10 10-15 >15

very low low moderate medium high very high

Figure 4

Soil erosion risk from agricultural land (11 km)



0 150 300 600 900 1,200 1,500 km

37

Figure 5a Figure 5b

Soil erosion from agricultural land (5050 km): median Soil loss from agricultural land (5050 km): 90 percentile

left right

Figure 6a Figure 6b

Soil erosion from arable land (5050 km): 90 percentile Soil erosion from permanent crops (5050 km): 90 percentile

left right

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

38 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Figure 7

Soil erosion from grassland (5050 km): 90 percentile

Figure 8a Figure 8b

Erosion risk for agricultural soils (5050 km): median Erosion risk for agricultural soils (5050 km): 90 percentile

left right

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

39

Figure 9a Figure 9b

Erosion risk for arable land (5050 km): 90 percentile Erosion risk for permanent crop land (5050 km): 90 percentile

left right

Figure 10

Erosion risk for grassland land (5050 km): 90 percentile

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

Soil erosion risk


Very low risk Low risk
Medium risk High risk Very high risk Extremely high risk No data Area not covered by EnRisk

40 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

2.1.4 Interpretation of results Regional differences


Soil erosion from agricultural soils is highest in southern European countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria). Although medians of soil loss for those countries are only moderate or low, the 90 percentiles, indicative for the worst areas, reach high or medium levels (Table 12). Another country where the 90 percentiles show elevated values of soil erosion is Austria. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania display moderate, the rest of the countries low or very low values. The distinct north-south gradient can partly be attributed to the fact that in southern countries the type of plant cover provides less protection against soil erosion. This can be due to various reasons: grasslands are likely to be less densely vegetated in the south, arable crops have a shorter vegetation period and perennial crops, which leave a bigger share of the soil unprotected (like olive groves) prevail. However a part of the effect might also be attributed to the fact that the R factor (indicating the effect of rainfall) was calculated differently for southern countries than for northern countries in van der Knijffs approach, which might have introduced some systematic error (as already mentioned by himself in van der Knijff et al., 2000). Areas with high values in Austria are due to steep slopes in alpine regions whereas countries with very low erosion even for the 90 percentile are those, where flat areas prevail (the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Belgium) or where grasslands cover almost the whole agricultural area and slopes are not too steep (Ireland). The median values for the 50x50 km grid cells give the impression that soil loss from agricultural soils is a smaller problem in Europe (Figure 5a). This, however, is a consequence of the data aggregation as displaying the median levels areas with high values out. The 90 percentile map at Figure 5b shows in contrast that in many of the 50x50 km grid cells 10% of the agricultural area has medium to very high levels of soil erosion. As already may be concluded from Table 12 those grid cells are mainly located in Mediterranean countries and Bulgaria, but also cover large parts of Austria, Slovakia, Romania and France.

Table 12

Soil loss (median and 90 percentile) from

agricultural soils in different European countries


Country Austria Belgium Bulgaria Czech Republic Denmark France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Luxembourg the Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Spain Median very low very low low very low very low very low very low moderate very low very low low very low very low very low low very low very low low 90 percentile medium very low moderate moderate very low low low high low very low high low very low very low medium moderate moderate medium

Note: calculated from the 1x1 km grid

highest values for perennial crops (Table 13). In contrast to that the C factors (vegetation and management factor) for arable land are often in a similar range as those for perennial crops whereas those for grassland are usually lower by one or two magnitudes. This seeming contradiction between the C factors and the results in Table 13 is due to the fact that land cover depends strongly on topography. Whereas arable land may only be located at flat areas or gentle slopes grassland is still a land use option at steep slopes. This effect may best be observed in areas where steep slopes and flat parts are located close to each other, as for example in the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Apennine Peninsula or the Balkan, where higher values for soil erosion may be found for grassland than for arable land

Land cover
The median of soil loss in Europe is very low for arable land and grassland but moderate for perennial crops. The 90 percentiles show a distinct difference according to land cover with lowest values for arable land followed by grassland and

41

Table 13 Soil loss (median and 90 percentile) in Europe at different types of land cover
Land use Arable land Grassland Perennial crops Median very low very low moderate 90 percentile low moderate medium

Figure 11 Share of grid cells with different levels of soil loss

Note: calculated from the 1x1 km grid

(Figure 6 and 7). Investigations carried out by the Institute for Land and Water Management Research (2003) confirmed that the highest sediment outputs derive from alpine regions with forest or grasslands as compared to the foreland used for arable crops (Section 3.8.3). In the case of perennial crops both factors topography and plant cover act into the same direction: permanent crops may be cultivated even on steep slopes and at the same time they do not provide a plant cover, which is dense enough to provide an effective protection from soil erosion. A comparison of the 90 percentiles of each type of land cover as displayed in Figure 6 and 7 therefore results in higher shares of medium to very high erosion rates for perennial crops than for other types of land cover (Figure 11). Elevated rates of soil loss from land used for perennial crops may not only be observed in Mediterranean countries but for instance also at the border of Germany and France or northern parts of Italy, which are regions, where wine and fruit trees are planted on steep slopes. As the underlying data for the assessment does not account for protective measures (Section 2.1.1), actual soil loss could be overestimated. The conclusion therefore is that measures like terracing, planting of cover crops between the rows or mulching are especially required at perennial crops if they are not applied already. above the tolerance level as defined in Table 5) can be found in the Alps, the north and east of Spain and the west of Greece (Figure 8a). Most parts of the Mediterranean countries, the Alps and the Balkan contain areas, where erosion is above tolerance levels (Figure 8b, displaying the 90 percentiles and therefore the bad cases). Regarding different types of land cover again worst cases most likely may be found at perennial crops, followed by grassland and least at arable land (Figure 12). Arable land areas with high erosion risk (above the tolerance level) can mainly be found in some parts of the Mediterranean (Figure 9). High-risk areas with pasture are more widespread and cover additionally most of the Alps and considerable parts of Bulgaria (Figure 10). The 90 percentile map for perennial crops contains considerable parts of Germany, France, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria additionally to the Mediterranean countries, where soil loss is above a tolerance level in at least 10% of the area (Figure 9). Soil protection measures to prevent soil loss by water erosion are therefore in the first place required for areas with perennial crops. Examples for such measures are terracing, mulching or green cover between the rows (where sufficient water is available). As perennial crops are a long-term investment there is a good chance that farmers are willing to adopt such measures or, in fact, have already adopted them to some degree, what would not show up in the map as the
Note: calculated from the 50x50 km 90 percentile grids in Figure 6 and 7

Erosion risk
Erosion risk was defined as the ratio of soil loss relative to a tolerance value, derived from soil depth (Section 2.1.2). A certain rate of soil loss would be a higher risk on shallow soils than on deep soils. Figure 8 shows that erosion may even be a high risk in areas, where soil loss is low, if the soils are shallow, as for instance in alpine regions (Figure 8a, displaying the median values). Areas, where already the median values of erosion risk are high (what means that in that grid cell soil erosion is typically

42 Risk assessment at the European scale / Soil erosion

Figure 12 Share of grid cells with different levels of erosion risk

Note: calculated from the 50x50 km 90 percentile grids in Figure 9 and 10

assessment does not account for existing soil protection measures. Grassland is mainly sensitive in marginal areas, which, however, may cover considerable parts of Europe. High stocking densities of grazing livestock or grazing cattle with heavy weight could increase the risk of soil erosion in these areas.

43

2.2 Nutrient enrichment

partly based on the following variables: population, nitrogen/ phosphorus from mineral fertilizers, nitrogen/phosphorus from organic manure, waste water treatment and deposition; animal density (livestock units (LU) per ha utilized agricultural area (UAA)); animal density (LU pigs and poultry per ha UAA); animal density (LU grazing livestock per ha UAA); animal density (LU grazing livestock per ha forage crops); excretion from livestock manure (kg nitrogen per ha UAA); nitrogen surplus (kg nitrogen per ha UAA, excluding permanent crops). A limited number of maps for these indicators are presented on the following pages. Figure 13 depicts animal density at regional level for most of the EU. HARM is the abbreviation for the harmonized division created by the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI). It gives the opportunity to compare the different regional divisions of EU15 used by Eurostat and the European Commission in REGIO, FSS and FADN. In the regional databank REGIO Eurostat uses the so-called NUTS division. NUTS is the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. The harmonized division distinguishes two levels of detail between the Member States: 100 regions (so-called HARM1 division), providing the ability to compare NUTS2 and the regions in FSS and FADN; 475 subregions (so-called HARM2 division). This division is a subdivision of HARM1 and provides the ability to compare NUTS3 and the subregions (district level) in FSS. The regions used are the so-called HARM1 regions developed by LEI to enable links between FADN, FSS and REGIO data. Livestock density in the new Member States is less than 1 LU per ha. In contrast, livestock production in EU15 is concentrated in several regions in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, France (Brittany), Spain (Catalonia) and northern Italy. Land use in the new Member States is not as intensive as in many other EU countries and the changes that have taken place since the late 1980s have also altered the interactions between agriculture and environment. Livestock production decreased considerably during the early 1990s, and the use of fertilizers also decreased significantly. In addition to stocking density from total livestock (Figure 13), maps are available on animal density from intensive livestock production (pigs and poultry), animal density from grazing livestock (cattle, sheep and goats) and stocking density from grazing livestock per ha forage crops (important from a landscape perspective; sheep density is important from the perspective of soil erosion).

2.2.1 Overview and interpretation of data sources


Three regional databases on the theme of nutrient enrichment are available for use by EnRisk: Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), Farm Structure Survey (FSS/Eurofarm) and Regional databank REGIO (European regional statistics database). Such data are developed according to harmonized definitions and cover the whole territory of the EU. Some features of the data are summarized below: FADN includes micro-economic data at farm level, on the structure of holding, including output, farm costs, subsidies, income, balance sheet items and financial indicators; FSS has aggregated data by region, farming type and size class, based on sample/census data on cropping plan, livestock population and labour; REGIO has regional data on demographic and economic statistics, unemployment, community labour force sample survey, energy, agricultural and forestry statistics and transport statistics. Indicators that have been used as a basis for compilation of the risk maps for nutrient enrichment are listed here: nitrogen/phosphorus load at the river estuary, which is

44 Risk assessment at the European scale / Nutrient enrichment

Figure 13

Animal density at HARM2 level for EU15 and for a selection of regions in the new Member States

LU_Total_UAA
< 0,5 0,5 - 1,0 1,0 - 1,5
1,5 - 2,0 2,0 - 3,0 > 3,0

Note: LU per hectare UAA Source: Eurostat, adaptation LEI

Excretion from livestock manure


Excretion from livestock manure (kg N per ha UAA) is an indicator that informs about supply of excess amounts of nitrogen (Figure 14). Also, excretion from livestock manure (phosphorus in kg per ha) is important, as this mineral is a limiting factor for biodiversity. However, information on phosphorus was not available at the time of writing.

EU15 regions. This allowed calculating a conversion factor. Any differences in 1998 between regional approach and the data from FAO are presented in Table A1 in the Annex. The last column offers a ratio between region-1998 and FAO-1998.

Nitrogen load
The 1998-region run of CARMEN includes fertilizer and livestock manure in 100 regions (Table 14). Eurostat provided nitrogen load data. Data on NUTS region 117 (Hamburg) and 670 (Finland) were missing. Fertilizer and livestock manure in the Hamburg region was considered zero (because of limited agriculture). Fertilizer consumption in region 670 was estimated at 90 kg/ha (being the average of two other regions in Finland). Livestock manure is estimated at 30 kg/ha. Some assumptions were made to achieve consistency on data for 1990 and 1998: 1. starting point for nitrogen from fertilizers and livestock manure are the regional data that are aggregated to the national level for 1998 in the EU15; 2. livestock manure and fertilizer outside the EU15 for 1990 are drawn from the CARMEN database; 3. FAO has made access via Internet (FAOSTAT) on consumption of nitrogen fertilizers and total agricultural land

Population
Data are from the FAO (access via Internet, from FAOSTAT (FAO Statistical Databases)). Data on countries as Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey and the Caucasus region are obtained from the CARMEN (CAuse-effect Relation Model for the Environment, developed by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and Environment) input source, without distinguishing between 1990 and 1998. FAO data do not distinguish between West and East Germany, and data for East Germany are obtained from the CARMEN database. Data for the former western part of Germany are drawn from the FAO data minus population from the eastern part of Germany. Data for the Baltic States are obtained from the CARMEN database. The regional run also makes use of population at regional level, with CARMEN data to be aggregated to the

45

Figure 14

Excretion from livestock manure at HARM2 level for EU15

Kg_Manure_N_UAA
< 25 25 - 50 25 - 50
100 - 170 170 - 210 > 210

Source: Eurostat, adaptation LEI

Table 14

Nitrogen load by country (kg N/ha)


Country Fertilizer Livestock manure Austria 33 114 106 90 89 104 88 91 62 142 184 31 41 66 77 48 220 114 39 46 65 48 123 44 114 265 39 23 39 67

in 1990 and 1998, for all European countries. This allowed assessing fertilizer load for both years. Updates for 1998 fertilizer data are obtained from the ratio of fertilizer load and based on 1990 CARMEN fertilizer use. Data for EU15 (conditions 1998) are aggregated from regional data. A similar procedure is used for livestock manure. The ratio of livestock manure depends on total number of livestock per country. The ratio of livestock numbers is used to calculate 1998 and 1990 numbers. Table 15 offers a summary on data used. Data for the fields FAO1990 and FAO1998 are calculated from total nitrogen fertilizers in relation to total area of agricultural land. Data from CARMEN (CAR1990) are standard data from the model. DEF1990 and DEF1998 are used in the calculations (see item 3 above). All data are in kg/ha. The various data offer a similar order of magnitude. Figures on gross livestock manure are based on the data presented in Table 16.

Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Luxembourg the Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden United Kingdom

Wastewater treatment
A considerable number of assumptions have been made on wastewater treatment, primarily because data are incomplete (also in EU15). The starting point was data from Eurostat, for 1990 and 1999. Table A2 in the annex presents basic wastewater data, including the share of mechanical

Note: aggregation of regional data at country level Source: RIVM

46 Risk assessment at the European scale / Nutrient enrichment

Table 15
Country Albania Austria Baltic Belarus

Summary of fertilizer data used (kg N/ha)


FAO1990 65.6 38.8 FAO1998 15.8 37.4 CAR1990 63.0 37.8 32.0 32.0 125.4 73.5 112.6 21.8 129.2 67.8 32.0 87.3 141.6 86.1 81.5 44.8 98.4 76.6 83.1 90.6 129.4 81.9 78.3 105.4 99.1 46.4 55.4 5.5 65.5 52.2 109.5 33.2 43.6 5.5 100.5 54.6 126.4 43.4 84.2 81.0 57.3 54.9 32.0 195.4 113.5 35.7 37.9 51.8 177.4 101.2 46.7 34.7 18.2 243.8 108.8 66.5 43.2 48.0 32.0 34.9 62.0 31.4 40.0 60.7 37.3 33.7 65.1 33.6 26.7 32.0 83.3 31.4 73.4 25.6 83.4 34.1 DEF1990 63.0 34.2 32.0 32.0 126.9 67.8 32.0 90.6 152.5 101.4 87.3 94.3 94.3 122.5 84.2 81.0 59.3 59.3 32.0 202.7 108.8 66.5 33.5 48.0 32.0 35.5 67.6 33.6 26.7 32.0 87.8 34.1 DEF1998 15.2 33.0 32.0 32.0 114.0 20.1 32.0 46.5 106.0 90.2 89.0 104.2 104.2 87.9 66.2 81.0 91.0 62.0 32.0 184.0 97.0 87.1 30.7 16.8 32.0 40.7 66.1 40.0 26.7 32.0 77.4 27.8

Belgium and Luxembourg Bulgaria Caucasus Czech and Slovak Republic Denmark Finland France Germany East Germany West Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Moldova the Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Yugoslavia

Note: CAR1990 = standard data from the CARMEN model; DEF1990 and DEF1998 = definitive data on fertilizer and livestock manure as used by CARMEN for EnRisk

47

(MECH), biological (BIO) and advanced treatment (TER, third stage), and the share untreated (NO_TR). The share of population that has no access to treatment systems (NO_C) is determined as the remaining category. Where no data were available for 1990 or 1999 data from another year were selected. Data from the CARMEN database have been used for countries with data gaps in Eurostat. The remaining categories indicate shares in access to public wastewater treatment, and the columns MECH, BIO, TER and NO_TR add up to 1.0 and represent the extent of wastewater treatment from all households having access to treatment (1-NO_C). A European average of 18% for mechanical treatment of nitrogen was considered. In addition, 35% makes use of mechanical biological treatment and 80% with tertiary treatment (including BIO and MECH). The part of population that has no access to public water treatment, some 50% of nitrogen, will enter the river. At European scale, an average load of 4.8 kg N per ha was estimated to enter the river annually (including industrial loading).

Table 16

Summary of data on N input from

livestock manure (kg N/ha)


Country Albania Austria Baltic Belarus Belgium and Luxembourg Bulgaria Caucasus Czech and Slovak Republic Denmark Finland France Germany East Germany West DEF1990 83.8 45.5 75.0 90.2 145.5 41.7 65.7 96.8 79.6 28.2 54.2 77.2 77.2 25.4 45.7 7.0 78.5 53.3 62.2 289.4 144.2 71.1 49.8 62.4 25.3 28.5 34.3 108.7 59.7 74.0 50.3 53.2 DEF1998 83.8 50.8 75.0 90.2 194.6 41.7 65.7 96.8 93.8 41.4 46.2 88.5 88.5 47.7 45.7 7.0 109.5 48.2 62.2 283.0 144.2 71.1 39.2 62.4 25.3 21.2 38.7 108.7 59.7 74.0 66.4 53.2 CAR1990 85.2 47.9 75.0 90.2 211.2 17.6 65.7 96.8 114.2 39.5 46.3 64.7 64.7 48.5 28.5 6.5 122.6 44.5 62.2 265.3 153.3 56.1 38.7 36.7 25.3 23.2 39.0 94.8 59.7 74.0 67.2 53.2

Nitrogen deposition
In order to obtain a realistic estimation on atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, a combination of data from CARMEN and regional data from Eurostat was used. Table 17 has national averages on deposition (in kg N per ha). Deposition in 1998 in the EU15 is based on data provided by Eurostat. Deposition in 1990 (in EU15) draws on a conversion factor that equals the ratio between CARM2000 and CARM1990. Data for the other countries draw from the RAINS model (Regional Air Pollution INformation and Simulation, initiated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in the 1980s (Alcamo et al., 1990)). Deposition in the regions of EU15 tends to be higher than standard data from CARMEN.

Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Moldova the Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania

Phosphorus in 1990
For phosphorus the same approach was adopted as for nitrogen. Fertilizers and livestock manure are drawn from CARMEN (1990). Data are presented in Table 18. Wastewater treatment for phosphorus is similar to nitrogen. Figures are presented on treatment in the western part of Europe (figures on eastern part of Europe between brackets). Mechanical treatment is considered to be applied to 25% (10%) P; 40% (20%) mechanically with biological treatment, and 90% (80%) with tertiary treatment (including BIO and MECH). At European scale, an average load of 1.06 kg P per ha was estimated to enter the river annually (including industrial loading).

Russia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Yugoslavia

Note: CAR1990 = standard data from the CARMEN model; DEF1990 and DEF1998 = definitive data on fertilizer and livestock manure as used by CARMEN for EnRisk)

48 Risk assessment at the European scale / Nutrient enrichment

Table 17

Atmospheric deposition of N (kg N/ha) for different years per country


Country Albania Austria Baltic Belarus CARM1990 7.4 17.7 10.3 12.0 25.1 9.9 2.2 16.9 12.4 3.4 11.2 19.0 22.8 5.1 12.2 0.0 9.6 10.6 11.1 30.9 3.4 16.1 5.0 10.8 4.1 5.1 4.1 17.1 2.6 11.5 11.3 9.9 CARM2000 6.7 12.9 8.0 8.8 17.5 8.6 2.0 12.6 9.1 2.4 9.0 12.6 15.3 4.4 10.6 0.0 8.4 8.2 9.4 17.5 2.4 12.9 4.7 9.6 2.8 4.6 2.9 13.1 2.4 9.0 8.1 8.0 Combi1990 7.6 27.6 10.3 12.0 46.9 10.0 2.2 18.0 24.4 6.9 19.2 41.3 44.2 8.6 12.5 0.0 11.3 15.8 11.1 63.4 3.7 16.3 3.9 10.8 4.1 6.7 6.6 19.5 2.6 11.5 21.6 10.2 Combi1998 6.8 20.0 8.0 8.8 32.6 8.6 2.0 13.4 18.0 4.8 15.5 27.5 29.5 7.4 10.8 0.0 10.0 12.2 9.4 36.0 2.6 13.0 3.7 9.6 2.8 6.0 4.6 14.9 2.4 9.0 15.5 8.1

Belgium and Luxembourg Bulgaria Caucasus Czech and Slovak Republic Denmark Finland France Germany East Germany West Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Moldova the Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Yugoslavia

Note: CARM1990 and CARM2000 = nitrogen deposition data as assumed by the CARMEN model; Combi1990 and Combi1998 = combination of deposition data in CARMEN and deposition data from Eurostat, as used by the CARMEN model for EnRisk Source: RIVM

49

2.2.2 Methodology
So far, the RIVM-developed GIS model (Geographic Information System) CARMEN is the only model suitable for undertaking integrated environmental assessments at the European scales (Iversen et al., 1997). The loading of nutrients in coastal and marine areas is calculated in the CARMEN model, and based on existing information on agricultural structure and population density. Surface water quality is assessed through information on nitrogen and phosphorus input from agriculture, consumers and industry. The model has a pan-European coverage, with Europe divided into major river catchments and 41 sea catchments. De Haan et al. (1996) offer a description of the model. Nitrogen and phosphorus loads to wastewater treatment plants are estimated from population density. Assumptions are made on the extent of treatment across regions, with large amounts of wastewater produced in highly industrialized areas where a high level of treatment is applied as well. In balance, it is assumed that nutrient loads are proportional to population numbers (Iversen et al., 1997). Nitrate leaching is based on application of nitrogen (based on fertilizer statistics, production of livestock manure and atmospheric deposition), soil features (based on the FAO soil map, and distinguishing between major soil types) and major land use categories (arable land, grassland and non-agricultural land). Phosphorus run-off from agriculture is calculated from erosion rates (and considering rainfall intensity, slope, texture and land use). More detailed assessments on nitrogen leaching are also available for smaller areas. The Burns model, for example, describes the risk of leaching of nitrate from the rooting depth (Burns, 1976). Figure A1 (Annex) shows results from the European ELPEN project (European Livestock Policy Evaluation Network). Here, the leaching nitrate fraction is the fraction of nitrate, occurring in the soils, leached below the rooting depth, and considering soil and climatic factors. The three main variables are soil features, excess amounts of rainfall and land cover (Boogaard, 2003). Important soil processes (e.g. mineralization, (de)nitrification and fixation) are not incorporated in the model.

Table 18

Phosphorus load by country (kg P/ha)


Country Fertilizers Livestock manure Albania Austria Baltic Belarus 7.0 2.7 10.5 14.8 2.9 1.3 5.8 8.3 16.2 15.7 10.5 10.5 7.4 0.9 0.9 14.0 13.1 6.5 13.1 14.0 7.4 7.4 3.9 1.7 9.6 8.7 10.9 8.7 2.6 10.5 2.5 10.1 6.2 9.9 11.8 19 5.6 8.4 13 11.8 3.7 7 10.7 10.7 2.9 6.7 0.8 9.3 7.3 8.5 42 18.1 9.4 6.8 8.3 3.3 3.7 4.6 14.1 7.4 9.8 6.2 7.1

Belgium/Luxembourg Bulgaria Caucasus Czech and Slovak Republic Denmark Finland France Germany East Germany West Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Moldova the Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom Yugoslavia Source: RIVM

2.2.3 European eutrophication risk zones


A total of six model runs have been made with the CARMEN model, including two runs for 1990 and four runs for 1998. Each of them offers a view on total nitrogen concentration at the river estuary, as well as the share of agriculture in total nitrogen load. In addition, a standard run was made on phosphate for 1990.

50 Risk assessment at the European scale / Nutrient enrichment

Figure 15

Livestock density in Europe

systems are generally important in regions with a high density of livestock population, and the share of pigs and poultry in the regions with a high density of livestock population may exceed 50% in most of these regions. The relatively small size of land available to these farms, and the subsequent high density of livestock population, is a major determinant of the high levels of excess amounts of nutrients in such regions and risks to eutrophication from agricultural sources.

2.2.4 Interpretation of results


Linkages between farming management practices and leaching of nitrates are highly complex and subject to large variations, depending inter alia on soil types, climatic conditions and farming practices. Supply of nutrients from livestock is an important factor for nutrient loading in water from agricultural activities through disposal of manure on the land. Intensive livestock production is an important source of the pollution, due to an insufficient area of land available to

these farmers on which to apply the manure. This is particularly relevant in regions where pig and poultry production is highly concentrated and the impact on the environment is consequently more severe. The supply of livestock manure is highest in regions where there are concentrations of intensive livestock production (mainly pigs and poultry) or large areas of specialized crop production

Some assumptions were made to achieve consistency on data for 1990 and 1998 (Section 2.2.1 under nitrogen load). Concentrations are in mg/l (in N). Lack of information in a river basin causes difficulties in the EU15 run with regions. It was decided to assign the label no data to those cases where more than 31% in the catchment area has no data. This resulted in no data in the catchment areas in Greece. Figures A2 to A9 (Annex) present the results of the various calculations per river basin for pan-Europe or EU15. Animal density is an indicator of the intensity of production that shows wide variation among countries and regions. This is important since it is an indicator of the amount of animal manure supplied by livestock. High animal density indicates that more nutrients are supplied from animals than could be applied on the field. In the year 2000, animal density exceeded 2 LU/ha in large parts of the Netherlands, but also in parts of Belgium (Flanders), Germany (Lower Saxony and Nordrhein-Westfalen), France (Brittany), Italy (Lombardy) and some parts of Spain (Figure 15). In some regions, animal density even exceeds 3 LU per ha. Intensive livestock

(including intensive horticulture). Regions affected by nitrate leaching include parts of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, northern Italy, coastal Spain and the UK. These regions also face considerable risks to nitrate pollution from agricultural practices. Here, leaching problems of nitrates cause considerable concern.

51

2.3 Pesticide use

PPPs in the European Union and in Member States. Although not all components of crop protection in the EU are covered, the data presented is considered to be fairly representative of the total use. The ECPA survey is the only data collection on pesticide use in Europe that was carried out with a unique method for the different Member States. That comparability was the reason to focus on the ECPA sample even though more precise pesticide use data collections are available in some countries. The current status of pesticide statistics at Community level was discussed at a workshop on 19 May 2003 at Eurostat and the need for more harmonization of pesticide statistics and common classifications has been expressed. So the pesticide risk assessment given in EnRisk is based on the best data currently available. Pesticides were either identified by their common name or named by an anonymous code and their chemical class. To handle anonymous pesticides, mean values of the corresponding chemical class were assigned. Altogether 25,341 pesticide use records could be included in the indicator calculations for the total of 14 countries. Each individual record is representing the application of a particular pesticide in a particular crop/crop group in a country and year (Table 19).

2.3.1 Overview and interpretation of data sources Use data


The pesticide use database as applied in EnRisk was built by using the results of an ECPA (European Crop Protection Association) study including 14 EU countries in the years 1992 to 1999 provided by Eurostat (CEC, 2002e). In the framework of a contract between Eurostat and the German Biological Research Station for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA) (Contract No. 2 002 71 600004) to test the OECD Aquatic Risk Indicators with data collected by Eurostat, it has been possible to use more detailed information than given in the report mentioned above. The ECPA is made up of seven full member companies: Aventis Crop Science (a member of AgrEvo and Rhone Poulenc), BASF (which has incorporated American Cyanamid), Syngenta (resulting from the purchase of Zeneca by Novartis), Bayer, Du Pont de Nemours, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto. Together, these seven companies cover about 90% of the European market of plant protection products (PPPs). ECPAs large market share ensures that the data displayed are reliable and should provide good estimates of the use of

Wherever possible, pesticides were allocated to individual crops but some compounds with a broad use spectrum were reported for crop groups only. The crops/crop groups addressed by risk calculations are: wheat, barley, maize, other cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, oilseeds, tree fruits, citrus, vineyards, and vegetables.

Pesticide properties
The physico-chemical and eco-toxicological data were obtained from the German pesticide registration database (not published).

Crop statistics
The crop statistics were in principle taken from the NewCronos data files provided by Eurostat. To reach an appropriate spatial resolution crop statistics on NUTS3 level have been focused on. Such detailed regional data were available from the FSS and the FADN of the EC in 1999/2000 (Source: FADN-CCE-DG Agriculture/A-3; adaptation LEI). The land use data that were necessary for mapping the final risk indices (Section 2.3.2) were obtained from the CLC database.

52 Risk assessment at the European scale / Pesticide use

Table 19

Number and use records in the pesticide product groups


Country Fungicides Growth regulators Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy 507 677 240 77 1548 779 696 280 1365 424 511 1427 157 724 2 23 24 22 27 18 18 3 12 3 6 18 27 667 839 308 272 1253 1031 449 359 1124 662 483 1135 222 909 268 424 107 53 1044 543 500 84 969 267 376 864 110 404 Herbicides Insecticides

the Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK

2.3.2 Methodology
To calculate the environmental risk of agricultural pesticide use the German indicator model SYNOPS (Synoptisches bewertungsmodell fur pflanzenschutzmittel; Reus et al., 1999) was applied. In its aquatic part the SYNOPS indicator model is compatible with the indicator REXTOX (Ratio of EXposure to TOXicity) developed by an OECD expert group (Pesticide Aquatic Risk Indicators (ARIproject), 1998-2002 (OECD, 1999)). For the terrestrial concerns OECD gave no specific recommendations within the planned EnRisk project time. Therefore the indicator SYNOPS was used since SYNOPS also considers terrestrial compartments. The SYNOPS indicator follows the ideas from the first OECD Workshop on Pesticide Risk Indicators, held in Copenhagen in April 1997, that a science-based indicator should link use, fate (OECD, 2002), and hazard data to measure the risk potential of pesticides in the environment. SYNOPS considers three compartments of the environment (Figure 16). On the basis of an assessment of exposure in the compartments soil, terrestrial habitats, and surface water the eco-toxicological effects (acute and chronic) on soil organisms (earthworms), terrestrial organisms (bees), and

aquatic organisms (algae, water fleas (Daphnia), fish) are estimated. In the EnRisk approach only the acute part of SYNOPS was used because of missing data for chronic eco-toxicological risks for a considerable number of pesticides given in the pesticide use database of the 14 EU countries. For each pesticide the following SYNOPS terms remained to be calculated (Reus et al., 1999): load of surface water by spray-drift (functions estimated according to the Ganzelmeier spray-drift tables (Ganzelmeier, 1997) and run-off (simplified formula for indirect loadings caused by run-off); load of soil by plant interception (simplified plant interception table); load of terrestrial habitats by spray-drift (functions estimated according to the Ganzelmeier spray-drift tables); concentration in surface water and soil C(t) over time assuming a first order kinetic degradation; short-term predicted environmental concentration index (sPEC) in surface water, soil, and terrestrial habitats; acute biological risk index for the test organisms algae, Daphnia, fish, earthworms, bees according to the general

53

Figure 16

Structure of the pesticide risk assessment model SYNOPS

formula abr = sPEC / acute toxicity. The SYNOPS model also offers the opportunity to consider different environmental conditions as variables that influence the exposure calculations. In the EnRisk approach unique default values were applied for all countries. They are: slope: 3%, soil type: sandy, content of organic carbon in soil: 1.5%, width of surface water body: 2 m, depth of surface water body: 0.3 m, precipitation of a heavy rain shower: 30 mm. The pesticide application rate as starting point for risk index calculations is obtained by dividing the volume of active ingredients used in each crop/crop group by the area occupied by this crop on the national scale. The general idea of the approach was now to calculate these pesticide risk indices (acute biological risk, abr) for each crop in a country and to combine the risk indices with the crop statistics on regional scale in each country to obtain spatial distribution of risk in Europe driven by the distribution of crops and their specific pesticide risk caused by their specific national pesticide use. The calculations were carried out in the following steps:

Calculation of crop specific aquatic and terrestrial risk in a country


1. abr (test organism, pesticide, crop, country, year) Calculating the acute biological risk for earthworms, bees, fish, algae, and Daphnia per pesticide in a crop, country and year by means of the indicator model SYNOPS according to the general formula risk = exposure / toxicity. 2. AVabr (test organism, crop, country) Calculating the mean value over all pesticides and years. 3. Terrestrial risk (crop, country) = Avabr (earthworm, crop, country) + Avabr (bees, crop, country) Aquatic risk (crop, country) = Avabr (fish, crop, country) + Avabr (Daphnia, crop, country) + Avabr (algae, crop, country) Summarizing the risk for terrestrial and aquatic test organisms.

Calculation of the aquatic and terrestrial risk in European NUTS2/3 using the FADN statistics
1. Aquatic risk (all crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (crop, country) over all crops within the NUTS2/3. Terrestrial risk (all crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (crop, country) over all crops within the NUTS2/3.

54 Risk assessment at the European scale / Pesticide use

The weights are determined by the share of the crops within the corresponding NUTS 2/3 region. 2. Aquatic risk (arable crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (crop, country) over the arable crops within NUTS2/3. Terrestrial risk (arable crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (crop, country) over the arable crops within NUTS2/3. The weights are determined by the share of arable crops of the total arable crop area within the corresponding NUTS2/3. 3. Aquatic risk (perennial crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (crop, country) over the perennial crops within NUTS2/3. Terrestrial risk (perennial crops, NUTS2/3) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (crop, country) over the perennial crops within NUTS2/3 The weights are determined by the share of perennial crops of the total perennial crop area within the corresponding NUTS2/3.

Terrestrial risk (per, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (perennial crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID50cell. The weights are determined by the share of the area of the contributing NUTS2/3 of the total GRID50-cell area.

2.3.3 Mapping pesticide risk zones


To offer better opportunities to combine the pesticide theme with other EnRisk themes like soil erosion and biodiversity a distinction was made between three crop groups: all crops: wheat, barley, other cereals, maize, rape, sunflowers, sugar beets, potatoes, grape, orchards, citrus, olives, vegetables, melons and strawberries; arable crops: wheat, barley, other cereals, maize, rape, sunflowers, sugar beets, and potatoes; perennial crops: grape, orchards, citrus, and olives. It has to be noticed that the calculated indices reflect a risk potential, which only becomes realistic under certain environmental circumstances. That fact has particularly to be taken into account to interpret the aquatic risk index. The aquatic risk has no meaning if there are no surface water bodies adjacent or in the near neighbourhood to agricultural fields. To avoid a misinterpretation the aquatic risk should be combined with a GIS theme that reflects the density of surface water bodies in a region. Furthermore one should be aware that the pesticide index as calculated by the formulae given above has no direct link to the land use. It means, because the risk indices are not scaled with the area of the agricultural used land in a region, they show the risk potential of the agricultural fields in a region and not the potential of the region in total. Theoretically, a 50x50 km grid cell can have a high risk although the cell contains only a small agricultural used area but grown with high-risk crops. Before mapping the aquatic and terrestrial risk indices of all GRID50-cells to characterize the European situation the area of agricultural land use (hectare) and the density of surface water bodies in a GRID50-cell (share of water area of the total GRID50-cell area in percentage) have been additionally taken into consideration. Both types of information were derived from the CLC data. The final definitions of six risk indices that can be mapped for each GRID50-cell are given as: Terrestrial risk all crops = Terrestrial risk (all, GRID50) * agricultural area (GRID50) Aquatic risk all crops = Aquatic risk (all, GRID50) * agricultural area (GRID50) * percentage of water (GRID50) Terrestrial risk arable crops = Terrestrial risk (arable,

Transformation of the NUTS2/3 indices into 50x50 km grid cells indices


For reasons of consistency with the EnRisk project, a transformation of the NUTS3 scale to the 50x50 km grid scale was necessary. For this purpose the vector geometries of the NUTS3 shape file and the 50x50 km grid shape file were overlaid by means of the GIS software ArcInfo and the inside areas of the corresponding NUTS3 zones were determined for each 50x50 km grid cell. The risk indices for the grid cell were then obtained by calculating the weighted mean values of the indices of the related NUTS3 zones, in which the corresponding area shares served as weights. Aquatic risk (all, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (all crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID50-cell. Terrestrial risk (all, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (all crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID50-cell. Aquatic risk (arable, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (arable crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID50cell. Terrestrial risk (arable, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Terrestrial risk (arable crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID50cell. Aquatic risk (per, GRID50) = Weighted mean value of Aquatic risk (perennial crops, NUTS2/3) over all NUTS2/3 which contribute to the corresponding GRID 50cell.

55

GRID50) * arable land (GRID50) Aquatic risk arable crops = Aquatic risk (arable, GRID50) * arable land (GRID50) * percentage of water (GRID50) Terrestrial risk perennial crops = Terrestrial risk (per, (GRID50) * perennial crop (GRID50)) Aquatic risk perennial crops = Aquatic risk (per, (GRID50) * perennial crop land ((GRID50) * percentage of water (GRID50]]) Figure 17 to 20 show the results of the SYNOPS calculations for the aquatic and terrestrial risk, respectively. Two additional maps for calculation on perennial crops are included in the annex (Figures A10 and A11). The GRID50-cell specific risk indices are grouped into six classes using the method of natural breaks as default classification method in the ArcView software. This method identifies breakpoints by looking for groupings and patterns inherent in the data. ArcView uses a rather complex statistical formula (Jenks optimisation) that minimizes the variation within each class.

(depending on the crown height of the apple trees) for one application. The total rate of 1,950 kg/463 hectare = 4.212 kg/ ha means an application frequency of 4.212/0.55 = 7.61 which is in a common range concerning the apple scab disease. Therefore that risk index can be considered as plausible. But looking at the number of use records as given in Table A3 in the annex one notices that the Finnish orchard index is based on only one record. This should be seen very critically. However, that critical value does not appear as a dark shade in the risk map for perennial crops. It is due to the third factor. The largest area of perennial crops in Finland is found in the region Pohois-Savo with 510 ha orchards. The total area of the region is 1,988,104 ha. Perennial crops cover only 0.025% of the land. That very small area does not appear in the CLC data. So the risk index disappears when mapping in accordance with the formula given above by multiplying with a perennial cropland of zero. A question of interest could be, whether the third factor of risk composition (agricultural area and water percentage) does dominate the figures of the risk maps. An answer can be found by comparing map figures of the particular factors. Figure 21 shows the density of arable crops in Europe as given by the CLC data. In Figure 22 the pesticide risk index (terrestrial) for arable crops without land use data is given. Comparing these two single-factor maps with the final terrestrial risk map for arable crops one notices for example: the low risk area in north Sweden disappears because of the very low arable crop density; the low risk in north and central France becomes a medium total risk because of the high arable land use in some GRID50-cells; the low to medium risk in Germany is intensified by the medium to high crop density; the high risk in Belgium and the Netherlands partly remains in spite of the low to medium density of arable crops. The same exercise should be undertaken to interpret the aquatic risk indices where the percentage of water area in a GRID50-cell additionally serves as multiplication factor. Figures 23 and 24 provide the necessary information. Figure 20 shows the risk for surface water in a GRID50-cell in total whereas Figure 24 detects the risk for a watercourse or lake that is adjacent to an arable field independent of the number of such neighbourhoods in the GRID50-cell.

2.3.4 Interpretation of results


The figures of the risk maps are driven by three factors: the crop- and country-specific risk as calculated by SYNOPS on the basis of the pesticide volume sold and the pesticide properties (dimensionless indices); the crop statistics within the GRID50-cell (dimensionless shares); the area of agricultural land use in the GRID50-cell (hectare) and additional for aquatic risk the percentage of water in the GRID50-cell (%). To interpret dark and lighter shades in the risk maps the first and the third factor have particularly to be considered. In Table 20 and 21 the averages (1992-1999) of the crop and countryspecific risk indices are given for 14 EU countries. High-risk values are shaded in the tables, the bold number stands for the maximum value of the table. It becomes visible that the highest aquatic risk is caused by pesticide use in tree fruits, followed by vineyards, vegetables, potatoes and maize. But there are also exceptions to this ranking as is seen from the index for maize in the Netherlands. In case of terrestrial risk orchards and vegetables have got high values but also maize in the Netherlands. It should be noted that the results of the risk index calculations can only be as good as the input data are. So at the first view some doubts on the tree fruit aquatic risk index of Finland (the maximum of all values) are reasonable. It originates from the application of 1.95 tons dithianon on 463 ha orchards in 1998. Dithianon is used to combat the apple scab disease in orchards with a dose rate of about 0.55 kg/ha

56 Risk assessment at the European scale / Pesticide use

Figure 17

Terrestrial risk caused by pesticide use in all crops as calculated by SYNOPS model

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

Note: dark shades indicate high levels of risk; lighter shades indicate low risk level

Figure 18

Terrestrial risk caused by pesticide use in arable crops as calculated by SYNOPS model

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

Note: dark shades indicate high levels of risk; lighter shades indicate low risk level

57

Figure 19

Aquatic risk caused by pesticide use in all crops as calculated by SYNOPS model

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

Note: dark shades indicate high levels of risk; lighter shades indicate low risk level

Figure 20

Aquatic risk caused by pesticide use in arable crops as calculated by SYNOPS model

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

Note: dark shades indicate high levels of risk; lighter shades indicate low risk level

58 Risk assessment at the European scale / Pesticide use

Table 20

Crop-specific aquatic risk (mean values over the years 19921999)


Country Vegetables Orchards Grape Potatoes Sugar beet 0.01443 0.00687 0.04405 0.03906 0.01593 0.00389 0.03670 0.02267 0.02304 0.00518 0.01019 0.01551 0.00982 0.00882 0.17851 0.00852 0.00990 0.11198 0.01829 0.03847 0.03079 0.01586 0.31625 0.02133 0.00851 Rape Maize Other cereals 0.00000 0.00001 0.00003 0.00000 0.01563 0.03964 0.01444 0.00077 0.00014 0.00006 0.00215 0.00058 0.00003 0.00000 0.00007 0.00003 0.00013 Barley Wheat

Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy The Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK

0.01150 0.11403 0.09285 0.10159 0.34299 0.15192 0.03784 0.06235 0.17202 0.05644 0.16025 0.10653 0.15102 0.03810

1.41986 1.56263 2.11084 2.90180 0.72980 0.73241 1.13061 1.68139 0.86833 1.94438 0.79391 0.62718 0.72457 0.96505

0.18040 0.27204

0.03571 0.05557 0.09969 0.03536

0.02766 0.01140 0.02117 0.02904 0.00715 0.01303

0.01119 0.11474

0.00084 0.01720 0.00118 0.00006 0.04075 0.03385 0.00015 0.00718 0.00034 0.00499 0.00173 0.00108 0.00141 0.00470

0.00105 0.02331 0.00262 0.00108 0.00750 0.02162 0.00024 0.01319 0.00043 0.02626 0.01393 0.00155 0.00249 0.00713

0.28364 0.55602 0.37489

0.04256 0.04793 0.05923 0.05691

0.46948

0.06240 0.04968

0.20902 0.05264

0.02714 0.02658 0.06972 0.03165

Note: high-risk values shaded, maximum value in bold

Table 21 Crop-specific terrestrial risk (mean values over the years 19921999)
Country Vegetables Orchards Grape Potatoes Sugar beet 0.02181 0.00202 0.03394 0.00893 0.00255 0.00238 0.00382 0.00113 0.00481 0.00195 0.00214 0.00906 0.00445 0.00169 0.00773 0.00174 0.01564 0.00230 0.00154 0.00138 0.00490 0.00269 0.09107 0.00635 0.00204 Rape Maize Other cereals 0.00002 0.00082 0.00002 0.00005 0.00340 0.00496 0.00268 0.00005 0.00001 0.00021 0.00005 0.00010 0.00113 0.00017 0.00005 0.00006 0.00002 Barley Wheat

Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy The Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK

0.00424 0.04304 0.11973 0.00124 0.13215 0.04510 0.00666 0.02092 0.03203 0.02255 0.08955 0.01437 0.18034 0.02537

0.02109 0.02133 0.05810 0.09398 0.04846 0.03515 0.04019 0.12602 0.05930 0.02957 0.11306 0.08591 0.06770 0.02523

0.00866 0.02497

0.00223 0.01197 0.00575 0.00083

0.00264 0.00065 0.00042 0.01423 0.00140 0.00209

0.00203 0.02325

0.00023 0.00063 0.00300 0.00046 0.00047 0.00051 0.00006 0.00029 0.00035 0.00486 0.00012 0.00004 0.00071 0.00047

0.00013 0.00212 0.00215 0.00216 0.00037 0.00126 0.00018 0.00056 0.00086 0.00780 0.00097 0.00019 0.00020 0.00103

0.01089 0.01707 0.02166

0.00641 0.00605 0.00763 0.00184

0.01641

0.00799 0.00810

0.00765 0.00360

0.00805 0.00261 0.00300 0.01475

Note: high-risk values shaded, maximum value in bold

59

Figure 21

Area of arable land (hectare) as deducted from the CLC database

Figure 22

Unscaled terrestrial pesticide risk for arable crops

Note: the area of arable land was taken out of the formula to calculate terrestrial risk

60 Risk assessment at the European scale / Pesticide use

Figure 23

Water density (share of water area of the total GRID50-cell area in percentage)

Figure 24

Unscaled aquatic pesticide risk for arable crops

Note: the area of arable land and the percentage of water were taken out of the formula to calculate aquatic risk

61

2.4 Biodiversity

Thirdly, biodiversity shows strong regional differentiation. Whereas nitrogen in Finland is the same as nitrogen in Italy, this cannot be said for a certain ecosystem or species. Species have regionally different preferences with regards to their living conditions, making it very difficult to predict how a species reacts to a pressure from agriculture. A fourth reason is the lack of knowledge on this complex and diverse subject. Some ecological functions and cause-effect relationships may be studied in detail, others have yet to be discovered. For example, it is generally accepted that the distribution of European breeding birds is relatively well documented, whereas the ecological effects of GMOs on natural ecosystems have hardly been studied. A fifth reason which also holds for other environmental themes is the complexity in the cause-effect relations between farming practices and biodiversity. Figure 25 (see also OECD, 2001) illustrates this complexity by breaking down the overall agricultural processes of intensification and extensification (see Section 1.1) into more specific pressureimpact relations. Figure 25 shows that, depending on the baseline situation the impacts of pressures will vary. For the purpose of this study the baseline situation has been simplified to either a natural area without agricultural use, or an agricultural area at

2.4.1 Assessing risks to biodiversity


Section 1.4 already mentioned that biodiversity risk assessment is a new field of science. Where risks to human health or to components of the grey environment (air, water, soil) have been assessed for a number of decades, this has not been done for biological diversity. The concept of biodiversity is relatively new, with the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993 giving it a strong impetus. Also the recognition that biodiversity is an essential basis to sustain life on earth and to guarantee a quality of life is recent, and growing. The political agreement at global, pan-European and EU levels to halt or significantly reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010 is a strong sign of this recognition. Assessing risks to biodiversity is not straightforward. One reason for this is the enormous variety in the components of biodiversity (millions of species, thousands of ecosystems, billions of genes). A second reason is the unimaginable complexity of ecological relationships that exist between the components of biodiversity. Consequently, an impact on one part of a component say soil biodiversity may have far reaching effects by way of trophic relationships (within a food pyramid), ecological functions (water purification), population dynamics, or competition, etc.

landscape level (top of figure) the impacts of pressures will vary. For example, starting from a purely natural condition a modest intensification of farming practices may have positive effects on species richness (Figure 1). On the other hand, the baseline might be a highly intense agricultural area, with high levels of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, high frequency of mechanical disturbance, and very large parcels with no semi-natural or landscape features in between. In that case, any extensification of agriculture is likely to have beneficial effects to biodiversity in the long run. This polarized presentation, however, needs some nuance. The relationship between the position of the baseline situation on the intensity axis and the impact of either intensification or extensification is not a linear one. In other words, extensification (by applying agri-environmental measures for example) in a relatively intensively managed agricultural area does not guarantee an increase in biodiversity as a whole (see e.g. Kleijn et al., 2001). A number of components exist, however, that enable us to start developing a method for biodiversity risk assessment. These include the classification of species and habitats according to their threat status (e.g. red lists), their conservation status (e.g. annexes to the EU Habitats and

62 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

Figure 25

Breakdown of the relationships between major agricultural processes and specific impacts on components

of biodiversity

Birds Directives), their position in the food chain, their distribution patterns (e.g. endemics), and so forth. For the purpose of EnRisk, some of these tools and data have been used to develop a methodology as described in Section 2.4.3.

Amphibians and reptiles


European distribution data on the herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) have been collected since the mid-eighties by the Societas Europaea Herpetologica (SEH) in order to produce the Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe (Gasc et al., 1997). The Atlas is pan-European and most of the EnRisk geographical scope is included (except Turkey in Asia Minor, Cyprus, the Greek islands close to the Turkish coast, the Canary Islands and the Azores). The data are presented on European maps using the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection and grid cells of approximately 50x50 km in size. Compensation for reduction of cell size towards the North Pole is described in Gasc et al. (1997). Most data collected span the period 19831995, although much use has been made of historical data from literature sources and museum collections. The Atlas covers a total of 185 species (62 amphibians and 123 reptiles).

2.4.2 Overview of data sources


At the European level, no single geographically referenced database exists on the overall status of biodiversity. However, by disaggregating biodiversity into its components of genes, species and habitats/ecosystems, many databases for certain aspects are available, managed by a range of organizations. On the basis of geographical coverage, availability, compatibility, and topic covered, pan-European databases on the following topics were selected for use in the biodiversity component of EnRisk: amphibians and reptiles, breeding birds, mammals, vascular plants, and land cover.

63

Breeding birds
Europe-wide distribution data for breeding birds have been collected and centralized by the European Bird Census Council (EBCC) to produce the EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds (Hagemeijer & Blair, 1997). The data are presented using a pan-European grid map using the UTM projection. It covers all of the EnRisk geographical scope, except Turkey in Asia Minor and Cyprus. Each grid cell is approximately 50x50 km in size. The Atlas compensates for the reduction of grid cells in size when moving northwards (because of converging meridians of longitude towards the poles). A full explanation of this process is given in the Technical Annex in Hagemeijer & Blair (1997). Roughly speaking, the Atlas covers data from the period 1985-1988, although for a number of countries older or newer data were evaluated and included. The Atlas covers some 440 species of breeding birds.

the other species atlas projects. Also, as for the atlases described above, the whole of Europe, except Cyprus and Asia Minor, is covered. The Atlas incorporates historical data and includes more recent data in more recent volumes. This means that the plant distributions presented may not be current distributions. Bearing in mind the high number of plant species involved, to date only about one quarter of the total European flora has been mapped (the full European flora is described in Flora Europaea (Tutin et al., 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980), which forms the basis for the Atlas).

WORLDMAP software
WORLDMAP was designed as easy-to-use software for exploring geographical patterns in diversity, rarity and conservation priorities within large biological datasets (e.g. Williams et al., 2000). The project to develop WORLDMAP was begun in 1988 in response to a need for a platform on which to research and develop new analytical tools for biologists. It is based on the same database - analytical tools - map graphics model as many commercial GIS. Yet unlike commercial GISs, rather than concentrating on database and graphics flexibility, WORLDMAP is designed to perform specialist biological analyses for unlimited numbers of species (or other area attributes) at maximum speed, in order to support truly interactive exploration of biodiversity data for research. Many of these biological tools are not yet available with commercial GIS. For Europe, analyses are performed using the European distribution data on terrestrial vertebrates and vascular plants as described in the paragraphs above (Figure 26).

Mammals
The Societas Europaea Mammalogica has collected distribution data on Europes mammals for the production of the Atlas of European Mammals (Mitchell-Jones et al., 1999). The area covered by this Atlas is much in line with the other European atlas projects, although more countries are left out due to lack of data. Seas (and hence marine mammals) are not included. From the EnRisk geographical scope Cyprus and the Turkish part of Asia Minor are not covered. Also for this Atlas the UTM projection is used and the basic mapping unit is the 50x50 km cell, corrected for converging longitude meridians. Data used for the Atlas span a long time period, including many historical observations. The Atlas distinguishes between species present (observations since 1970, corrected for recent lack of observations in detailed surveys) and presence presumed (no observation since 1970 but also no evidence that the species has become extinct). A total of 194 mammal species are described and mapped.

Corine Land Cover


The Council of the European Commission adopted the Corine programme in 1985 with the aim to gather, coordinate and ensure the consistency of information on the state of the environment and natural resources in the European Community (CEC, 1994). The CLC database provides a panEuropean inventory of biophysical land cover, using a 44class nomenclature. It is available on a 250x250 m grid database that has been aggregated from the original vector data at 1:100,000. The map projection used is the Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area Projection. The map covers a large part of Europe, although the following EnRisk countries are missing: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Russia (Kaliningrad region), Serbia-Montenegro, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland). The data

Vascular plants
As the oldest European-wide species-mapping project, the Atlas Florae Europaeae (Jalas & Suominen, 1972-1994; Jalas et al., 1996; 1999) has received wide recognition and has served as a model for the other atlas projects described above. Its origins date to the 1950s and 1960s. The Committee for Mapping the Flora of Europe was founded in 1965. Since that time twelve volumes have been published, each of which covers several plant families. The maps are produced using the UTM grid of 50x50 km cells, similar to those adopted by

64 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

Figure 26

Map of species richness

Note: plot of combined records from atlas data for vascular plants, amphibians, reptiles, breeding birds and mammals among 5050 km grid cells (total 3143 species, 2435 grid cells). Species richness counts are divided into 33 colour-scale classes (shown right) of approximately equal size by numbers of grid cells, with maximum richness shown in red and minimum richness in light blue. This option for an equal-frequency colour scale is used to maximize geographical differentiation of regions within a map. Svalbard and the Azores are shown displaced relative to the mainland and in boxes Source: WORLDMAP

included in the CLC database were collected using remote sensing (satellite imagery) continuously since the mid-1980s. A process of updating CLC information is now continuing in the CLC2000 project. The CLC2000 project, launched by the EEA and JRC, uses a satellite image snapshot of the EU territory (IMAGE 2000) as the basic material for updating the CLC database for the year 2000. It also identifies the main land cover changes in Europe between 1990 and 2000 (ETC/TE, 2004). At the time of producing the EnRisk European maps, the CLC2000 maps were being processed and therefore were unavailable to EnRisk. Meanwhile, they have been presented to the public (EEA, 2004d).

2.4.3 Methodology
Biodiversity is generally defined as the combination of the variety of both living organisms and their habitats. Three levels of biodiversity are distinguished in the definition of the CBD: genetic (variability within species), species (variability between species) and ecosystem. The EnRisk project considers only species and ecosystem diversity. Because EnRisk is about assessing the risks posed by agricultural practices, it is important to select those parts of biodiversity that are actually (or likely to be) affected by changes in agriculture. Although it is acknowledged that all parts of biodiversity, even if very remote from agricultural land use, are affected in some way or another by agriculture, for the purpose of this project only direct impacts on agricultural habitats are considered. This is especially true for the European-wide assessments because of the scale and because of the complexities that are involved with indirect effects.

65

Using the list of the CLC classification a selection of ecosystems relevant to EnRisk has been made. Risk to biodiversity is defined here as being the product of a pressure (hazard) on biodiversity and the sensitivity of biodiversity to that pressure. Sensitivity has been defined as the predicted impact of a selected pressure on the extinction of selected species in selected habitats in Europe. This is exemplified by breeding bird species associated with selected agro-ecosystems. The pressures considered here are those that result from the assessments of the other environmental themes (eutrophication, soil erosion, and pesticide use). Since the precise function to relate the sensitivity and pressure factors to biodiversity risk is not yet known, this simple formulation at least captures the fundamental idea that increasing either sensitivity or pressure is likely to increase risk. In order to assess the direct risks posed by agriculture to agro-biodiversity at the European scale, the following steps have been taken: 1. The CLC database and the species atlases held in WORLDMAP provided the raw data for analysis. 2. From the 44 Corine land cover types, 12 were selected as agro-ecosystems for further investigation. This selection was based on the assumption that these land cover types provide a basis for linking agricultural pressures directly to impacts on biodiversity. However, it is recognized that these land cover types are non-exclusive and that some may have considerable overlap, not only with each other but also with other nonagricultural land cover types. The 12 land cover types are as follows (numbered according to the Corine classification: 2.1.1. 2.1.2. 2.1.3. 2.2.1. 2.2.2. 2.2.3. 2.3.1. 2.4.1. Non-irrigated arable land Permanently irrigated land Rice fields Vineyards Fruit trees and berry plantations Olive groves Pastures Annual crops associated with permanent crops

to extract that part of Europe that actually has agricultural land cover types present. This land cover type was chosen because it had the widest distribution. 5. Based on a first analysis of the distribution of the 12 land cover types, on accuracy of definition and on data quality, four land cover types were then selected and refined in combination with other data layers to work with in more depth. They were: 2.1.1. 1.1.1. Non-irrigated arable land a) dry grasslands b) wet grasslands c) montane grasslands 6. At the species level, breeding birds were chosen from among the species groups held in WORLDMAP because knowledge of habitat preferences of birds is better than for other species groups, expertise within the project team was greatest for birds and habitat-specific sensitivity scores for agricultural impacts are available. Birds are also good indicators of broader biodiversity and sustainability, because (Heath & Rayment, 2003); they are high in the food chain, thus integrating changes at other levels; they occupy a broad range of ecosystems and have varied natural histories; a wealth of data has been collected by volunteers and professionals, and bird population sizes and trends, and conservation status, are often well-known relative to other taxa; they are meaningful to a wide audience including the public. 7. Rather than propose yet more lists of agriculturallyassociated bird species, the lists published by BirdLife International (Tucker & Evans, 1997) were used, selecting only the breeding birds from the total lists, since the bird atlas only covers distribution of breeding birds. All non-breeding passage migrants and wintering birds have been extracted from the list. Then, because the habitat types used by Tucker & Evans are not consistent with the Corine land cover types, a further selection of land cover types was made to use those Corine land cover types that match best the BirdLife habitat types: grasslands (split up into wet, dry and montane grasslands) and arable land. The three grassland types are generally based on the Corine type pastures, and partly natural grassland in mountainous areas. Montane grassland was defined by using Corine classification for pastures (2.3.1) and Natural Grassland (3.2.1) on an altitude above a threshold varying from region to region, starting from > 1500 m south of northern France, > 800 m between northern

2.4.2. Complex cultivation patterns 2.4.3. Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation 2.4.4. Agro-forestry areas 3.2.1. Natural grassland 3. For each of the selected land cover types the percentage coverage per grid cell of 50x50 km was calculated. 4. The presence of land cover type 2.4.2. was used as a mask

66 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

Figure 27

Richness of breeding birds associated with

There is most certainly some wet grassland south of that line, but it was impossible to distinguish. It was also decided to ignore this as it is of insignificant area. In order to produce a threat map for the associated species the rough geographical delineation seems justified. For dry grassland, most of the grassland south and east of that line was included, but also data generated from a survey carried out for the Dobris Assessment in the 1990s (Stanners & Bourdeau, 1995) was used to verify the distribution. This double check ensured the accurate delineation of the two grassland types. Again there is, on a European 50x50 km scale, a small and negligible amount of dry grassland beyond that boundary. By overlaying this biodiversity information with data on threats, such as nutrients or grazing pressure, a slight error remains in overlaying data for different habitats or Corine classifications within the same 50x50 km grid. It was felt that this error on this scale is negligible. Where obvious errors were apparent they were highlighted in the risk maps. The approach to combining nutrients is an approximation and requires a more detailed examination of the grid cells where

wet grasslands

Note: dark shades indicate high levels of risk; lighter shades indicate low risk level

0 150 300 600 900 1,200

the highest values occur. 8. The resulting lists of breeding bird species associated with each land cover type (Table 22) were used to plot species richness per grid cell associated with each of the four land cover types. The resulting areas of highest species richness give an indication of areas of highest agriculturally-associated bird diversity potentially at risk from specific agricultural pressures. An example of richness of breeding birds associated with wet grasslands is presented in Figure 27. 9. In order to provide an estimate representing the sensitivity of the bird diversity from step 8 to pressures from agriculture, the threat scores used by Tucker & Evans (1997) were applied (see box). These scores show, on a scale from 0 to 3, the likely impact of specific agricultural practices on the threat status of bird species for given habitat types (i.e. sensitivity of the species to the practices). However, the scores for the habitat types selected in EnRisk apply only to eutrophication and in part to pesticides. Tucker & Evans do not list the threat scores for soil erosion. Other immanent threats such as land use changes and conversion of grassland into crops or by drainage, have not been considered in the EnRisk context. By summing the threat scores for the bird species associated with the selected land cover types, estimates of relative sensitivity of agriculturally-associated bird diversity among grid cells were calculated. Masking out those grid cells in which the particular land cover type does not occur 0has refined these maps.

1,500 km

France and the Shetland Islands, > 500m north of the Shetlands based on a digital elevation model (DEM) GTOPO30 grid at 250x250 m resolution. When grassland and altitude data overlap the grid is defined as montane grassland. In converting the data to the 50x50 km EnRisk grid we decided to assign a grid cell as montane grassland as soon as one 250x250 m cell only defined montane grassland within 50x50 km. For wet and dry grassland no clear classification of the Corine data set was suitable. We used pastures and drew a line through Central Europe (Figure 27), depicting the main wet grassland areas north of this area, also featured by the breeding distribution of the wet grassland birds identified by BirdLife and others (Hagemeijer & Blair, 1997). North of this line as described below captures the wet grassland areas of the big plains.

67

Predicted impact of threats on priority bird species The predicted impact of various threats from agriculture on the priority birds of a particular habitat has been scored according to the following scale: 3 Critical impact: the species is likely to go extinct in the habitat in Europe within 20 years if current trends continue 2 High impact: the species population is likely to decline by more than 20% in the habitat in Europe within 20 years if current trends continue 1 Low impact: likely to have only local effects, and the species population is not likely to decline by more than 20% in the habitat in Europe within 20 years if current trends continue 0 threat not listed as having an impact on an individual bird species. However, this cannot be interpreted as proof that there is no effect or impact, but merely that no harmful effects or impacts have been found by research so far
Source: Tucker & Evans, 1997

The stepwise approach presented above results in a number of European maps that show the location and extent of areas of potential risks from selected agricultural practices on selected agriculturally-associated components of biodiversity. Obviously this will not provide the full picture of all risk areas for the whole of biodiversity in relation to any type of agricultural land use. However, the methodology developed here illustrates the principles as well as the opportunities (and limitations) for using the currently available data at the European level and it could be applied to other agricultural practices and other components of biodiversity.

2.4.4 European biodiversity risk zones


The approach as described above and the use of the databases as described in Section 2.4.1 has led to the following results for the topic of biodiversity. For the first set of 12 Corine land cover types selected, the percentage coverage per grid cell of max. 50x50 km was calculated. Lists of bird species as published by Tucker & Evans (1997) have been used but scrutinized for breeding birds only (Table 22). Species richness of the breeding bird species associated with a certain land cover type was plotted on a 50x50 km resolution, giving an indication of the highest agribiodiversity value and providing a basis for further identification of risk zones. In a next step the sensitivity-related threat scores have been summed for those breeding birds associated with the selected habitats (Section 2.4.3). For each grid cell the sum of the threat scores for the selected species present in that cell has been calculated and the result has been plotted on a European map. This was done separately for all four selected land cover types for agricultural pressures that are considered within EnRisk (Section 2.1 to 2.3) and for which sufficient theat scores were available. The European maps that result from this process represent an estimate of the risk zones for the selected agrobiodiversity, as described in the next section.

10.The grid cells with highest sensitivity scores locate the most sensitive areas for impacts of the agricultural practice concerned on the agriculturally-associated bird diversity (Figure 28 to 31). 11. An overlay of the sensitive areas with the respective pressure values provides an indication of where the potential risk zones are located. For example, if an area with a relatively high accumulated sensitivity score for pesticide use on arable land coincides with high values of pesticide use, this identifies a high-risk zone for arable-associated bird diversity in relation to pesticide use. In summary, the formula developed to calculate the biodiversity risk index on the basis of species richness and threat scores is: biodiversity risk in area i = sum for area i of [(agricultural species j present in i) x (sensitivity of j to threat k) x (intensity in i of threat k)] where, in the case applied in EnRisk: i = the 50x50 km grid cell for which the risk is calculated j = the breeding bird species that is associated with the agro-ecosystem under view sensitivity = expressed by the threat score as given by Tucker & Evans (1997) k = the pressure (agricultural practice) considered

2.4.5 Interpretation of results


The results from the mapping exercise described above (four European maps) give an approximate indication of the regions of high risk for components of agro-biodiversity from agriculture within Europe. These maps should be read and interpreted as follows: Which areas in Europe are likely to lose breeding bird

68 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

species that are associated to selected agro-ecosystems due to a selected pressure? The map representing sensitivity of wet grassland birds to nutrient pollution (Figure 30) shows a west-to-east gradient of increasing sensitivity, with most of Poland and the eastern part of Germany and the Lorraine region in northeastern France having the highest summed threat scores. Species richness of breeding birds associated to wet grasslands does not explain all of this variability. It is the combination of the higher number of species with higher threat scores that results in this pattern. However, the map representing the risks from eutrophication pressure (using livestock density as an indicator) to wet grassland birds shows an entirely different pattern (Figure 35). The areas of highest risk are located in the northern part of Belgium, the Netherlands, the Region of Rheinland Westphalia in northwestern Germany and the most northern part of Italy (Lombardy and to a lesser extent -Veneto). All of these regions are characterized by medium-level sensitivity and richness in breeding birds associated to wet grassland. It is really the pressure level in all these regions, and particularly in Flanders and the Netherlands, that defines the high risks. The areas with highest sensitivity, described above have only medium risk values because current pressures from eutrophication are low. The areas of lowest risk, because of low sensitivity and low pressure values, are located in Scotland, the northern part of the Republic of Ireland, Calais and Picardie in northwest France, Adige and Giulia in northeast Italy and in the Baltic states (although in the latter area sensitivity is relatively high). The map of sensitivity of dry grassland (or steppe) birds to nutrient pollution shows a very different picture. The reason for this is that dry grassland in Europe has decreased dramatically (Goriup et al., 1991; Goriup, 1992) in extent and only a few fragments remain. The pattern is therefore very patchy, with a relatively high number of species with higher sensitivity scores. Hot spots of sensitivity are found in northern Spain, southern France, southern Bulgaria and in the Hungarian puszta. This map shows the closest similarity to the map of potential High Nature Value farmland in Europe (EEA, 2004a). The risk map for dry grassland birds in relation to eutrophication shows no high-risk areas. Areas with highest sensitivity appear as medium-risk zones, due to relatively low pressure values.

As expected, mountain ranges stand out from the map on sensitivity of montane grassland birds to nutrient pollution because non-mountainous grid cells have been masked out. Highest sensitivity can be found in the Alpine region on the border between France and Italy. The relatively small difference compared with the bird species richness map for this habitat type suggests that most of the variation here is explained by the species richness and not by geographic variation in the sensitivity values. In terms of risk, Switzerland and Catalonia (Spain) stand out as high-risk zones. Although moderate sensitivity values characterize them, these are the only mountain areas with very high pressure values. All other montane grassland areas have low or low-medium risks, based on the available data. The map depicting sensitivity of arable birds to pesticide use shows a much less distinct pattern. Both bird species richness of arable land and sensitivity based on their summed impact scores show little variation throughout Europe. There seems to be a slight increase towards the south, with Bulgaria, east Romania and central northern Spain slightly standing out. Overall, average pesticide threat scores for birds associated with arable land appear to be lower than for wet grasslands or mountains. Because of the small variation in sensitivity, the pressure values are really the factors determining areas of high risk. A number of regions show up as high-risk zones: Flanders (Belgium); the Netherlands; Rheinland-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Schlesswig-Holstein, Bavaria and BadenWrttemberg (Germany); northern Portugal; west Slovenia; and scattered cells in Italy and Crete. Although the maps of risks from pesticide use indicate many more regions with high risk values, it should be noted that the highest risk class covers a broad range of risk values. These actual values have been used, rather than the risk class, to calculate the risk to biodiversity. Actual pressure values are indeed highest in the high-risk zones that have been listed above. For any of the agro-biodiversity sensitivity and risk maps produced, the identified regions should be interpreted with caution. Many assumptions and generalizations have been made, which in turn means that these maps are only indicative, showing coarse-scale regions of potentially higher sensitivity to agricultural pressures. Reasons for exercising caution in interpreting the maps include: breeding bird distribution data at this scale are over 15 years old (Hagemeyer & Blair, 1997);

69

Table 22 Breeding bird species associated with selected agro-ecosystems and their threat scores for selected agricultural practices
Threat score nutrient pollution for species 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

species associated with dry grassland

Threat score high stocking levels for

species associated with arable land

Threat score nutrient pollution for

species associated with mountain

Acrocephalus paludicola Alauda arvensis Alectoris chukar Alectoris graeca Alectoris rufa Anas querquedula Anser erythropus Anthus campestris Anthus pratensis Anthus spinoletta Aquila chrysaetos Aquila clanga Aquila heliaca Aquila pomarina Asio flammeus Athene noctua Burhinus oedicnemus Buteo rufinus Calandrella brachydactyla Calandrella rufescens Calidris alpina Carduelis cannabina Chersophilus duponti Chlidonias niger Ciconia ciconia Circus macrourus Circus pygargus Corvus frugilegus Coturnix coturnix Crex crex Emberiza cia Emberiza cirlus Emberiza citrinella

Aquatic Warbler Skylark Chukar Rock Partridge Red-legged Partridge Garganey Lesser White-fronted Goose Tawny Pipit Meadow Pipit Water Pipit Golden Eagle Spotted Eagle Imperial Eagle Lesser Spotted Eagle Short-eared Owl Little Owl Stone Curlew Long-legged Buzzard Short-toed Lark Lesser Short-toed Lark Dunlin Linnet Duponts Lark Black Tern White Stork Pallid Harrier Montagus Harrier Rook Quail Corncrake Rock Bunting Cirl Bunting Yellowhammer

70 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

associated with wet grassland

Threat score pesticide use for

Common name

grassland

Species

Threat score nutrient pollution for species 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

species associated with dry grassland

Threat score high stocking levels for

species associated with arable land

Threat score nutrient pollution for

species associated with mountain

Emberiza hortulana Emberiza melanocephala Falco biarmicus Falco cherrug Falco naumanni Falco peregrinus Falco tinnunculus Falco vespertinus Galerida cristata Galerida theklae Gallinago media Glareola nordmanni Gypaetus barbatus Gyps fulvus Hippolais pallida Lanius excubitor/ meridionalis Lanius minor Limosa limosa Locustella naevia Lullula arborea Melanocorypha calandra Miliaria calandra Monticola saxatilis Monticola solitarius Montifringilla nivalis Motacilla flava Neophron percnopterus Numenius arquata Otis tarda Passer montanus Perdix perdix Philomachus pugnax

Ortolan Bunting Black-headed Bunting Lanner Saker Falcon Lesser Kestrel Peregrine Falcon Kestrel Red-footed Falcon Crested Lark Thekla Lark Great Snipe Black-winged Pratincole Lammergeier Griffon Vulture Olivaceous Warbler Great Grey Shrike/Southern Grey Shrike Lesser Grey Shrike Black-tailed Godwit Grasshopper Warbler Woodlark Calandra Lark Corn Bunting Rock Thrush Blue Rock Thrush Snowfinch Yellow Wagtail Egyptian Volture Curlew Great Bustard Tree Sparrow Grey Partridge Ruff

1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 1 1 0

2 0 0 0 1 1

1 2 1 1 1 1 1

2 1 2

associated with wet grassland

Threat score pesticide use for

Common name

grassland

Species

71

Threat score nutrient pollution for species 1 1 1 1 1

species associated with dry grassland

Threat score high stocking levels for

species associated with arable land

Threat score nutrient pollution for

species associated with mountain

Porzana porzana Pyrrhocorax graculus Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Saxicola rubetra Saxicola torquata Serinus citrinella Sturnus roseus Sturnus vulgaris Tadorna ferruginea Tetrao tetrix Tetrax tetrax Tringa totanus Tyto alba Vanellus vanellus

Spotted Crake Alpine Chough Chough Whinchat Stonechat Citril Finch Rose-coloured Starling Starling Ruddy Shelduck Black Grouse Little Bustard Redshank Barn Owl Lapwing 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 2

Source: adapted from Tucker & Heath, 1997

crucially, threat scores have been identified on the basis of expert judgement (Tucker & Evans, 1997), not from quantitative analysis, and they are generalized across all of Europe and do not reflect regional differences; the resolution of 50x50 km for bird distribution, which is derived from aggregating presence data without allowance for abundance (i.e. one occurrence or a thousand will still produce a single cell score), does not allow for analyses that can relate species distribution to land cover patterns or to pressure levels with precision at fine spatial scales. Research in the Czech Republic has demonstrated that the coarsest resolution for distribution analyses relating bird data to land cover is at 30x30 km grid cells (Storch et al., 2003); definitions of land cover types, either as used by Corine or by BirdLife, are general, non-exclusive and arbitrary, because of the coarse scale of assessment;

since predictive data on future pressure values are lacking, it has not been possible to include this factor in the risk assessment. It would make sense to interpret the vulnerability maps in a different way. Especially for the new EU Member States future pressures from agriculture are likely to increase (EEA, 2004e). The vulnerability map for wet grasslands, for example, indicates therefore that the actual risk for negative impacts on bird diversity might be located in countries such as Poland and the Baltic states.

72 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity

associated with wet grassland

Threat score pesticide use for

Common name

grassland

Species

Figure 28 Figure 29

Summed pesticide impact scores for breeding bird species on arable land Summed livestock density impact scores for breeding birds on dry grasslands

left right

Figure 30 Figure 31

Summed livestock density impact scores for breeding birds from wet grasslands Summed livestock density impact scores for breeding birds from montane grasslands

left right



0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

73

Figure 32 Figure 33

Risks from pesticide to breeding birds on arable land Risks from livestock density to breeding birds on steppe grassland

left right

Figure 34 Figure 35

Risks from livestock density to breeding birds on montane grassland Risks from livestock density to breeding birds on wet grassland

left right

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

74 Risk assessment at the European scale / Biodiversity / Landscape

2.5 Landscape
Figure 36 Revised DPSIR framework for landscapes

Source: Wascher, 2003

2.5.1 Conceptual framework


Building upon a previous definition of landscapes (Wascher, 2001) the following adaptation is used in the EnRisk project: Landscapes are spatially defined by the complex and region-specific interaction between natural processes and human activities resulting in landscape character; and they are functionally defined by the compatibility of social and economic demands with environmental thresholds, forming the basis for sustainability. The effects of socio-economic and environmental driving forces on landscape functions are strongly determined by landscape character. Like many other landscape definitions that have been developed during the last decades, the above definition is meant to fit a specific purpose in this case the identification of landscape risk zones with regard to agricultural land use at the European level. The most adequate short formula that summarizes the above definition is to describe landscapes as socio-economic ecosystems. As complex socio-economic ecosystems, landscapes are based on natural features that are evolutionary and abiotic, including climate, relief, geology and soil types, as well as on human intervention through agriculture, transhumance, forestry and other cultural activities. The degree to which

human activities and natural processes are interacting or have been interacting in the past determines the character of a landscape. Landscape character can hence be considered as the lands principle physiognomic profile in terms of climate, geomorphology, topography, soils and the associated natural vegetation and land use. Though the character of a landscape can be the object of human perception and evaluation, character is not to be confused with the quality of a landscape, which is mainly dependent on the functions that have been assigned to it, e.g. aesthetic, recreational, economic and ecological (Figure 36). Obtaining a record of the landscape character should hence be considered the necessary pre-requisite for identifying risk zones for landscape quality.

2.5.2 Overview and interpretation of data sources


Given the increasing demand for high-accuracy landscape information at the European level (Wascher, 2003), and the observation, that existing approaches fall short of using state-of-the-art technology and addressing cultural attributes (e.g. land cultivation patterns, historical features, landscape elements, land use characteristics), there is a

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Figure 37 data

Hierarchical relations of landscape relevant

climate conditions are far from stable as is shown by palaeoclimatic data and by climate scenarios for the coming century. Data availability: existing data are available as point data on many variables; various classifications designed from an ecological point of view are available. These climate databases are subject to improvements using independent data of weather stations, a thorough interpretation from an ecological viewpoint, smart application of data on topography that allow more geographical detail and a geostatistical procedure that allows a well founded new classification. Moreover, shifts in climate and so in environmental regions should be addressed properly in scenario studies. Conclusion: essential, available, and operational although

clear need to establish a classification and map for landscape character types at the European level as a main point of reference in support of both research and policy implementation at the European and national level. The strategic objectives are as follows: establish a European-wide neutral and culturally unbiased typology of landscape types that is based on high-quality data of European coverage and which can be linked to existing national approaches while linking up with the European bioclimatic regions; make sure that the proposed landscape types provide a meaningful reference base for policy application, e.g. the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, 1999), Agenda 2000 (rural development), reporting according to the DPSIR framework, ESDP. Figure 37 illustrates the scope of data requirements involved in landscape assessments. In the following, the key data layers relevant for the development of a landscape typology shall be briefly described.

minor adjustments and further choices have to be made.

Geomorphology and topography


Motivation: in all literature dealing with both ecological and cultural heritage, geomorphology issues and scenery, topography is a central subject. Topography (primarily altitude, exposition, slope) or relief largely determines soil conditions, erosion and sedimentation, meso and macroclimate, suitability for agriculture or settlement, surface water discharge, flows of groundwater as well as all other dependent biotic features (such as vegetation zones following altitude and soil type). Many geomorphologic features, e.g. landform, age, origin, and surface geology, are directly connected to topography. Data availability: topographic data (principally altitude, slopes and exposition data) are readily available in digital format at various spatial scales. Information on geomorphology, that additionally describes and explains the origin and age of landforms systematically is more scattered (Embleton, 1984) and rather subjective or specific for a region or country due to national classifications (Ten Cate & Maarleveld, 1977). Conclusion: essential data, but only topographic data are readily available and operational.

Climate
Motivation: essential for ecology, because distribution of ecosystems and species is determined by climate conditions. Climate determines together with parent material the soil characteristics, type and hydrology and therefore the ecological boundary conditions for flora and fauna. Furthermore climate (averages and extremes) exerts direct influences on biota by physiological and phenological responses. Climate also sets conditions for land use by frost periods, water availability, growing season, temperature distribution and rare events. On a European scale climate zones and climate gradients as determined by altitude are observable in many dependent factors, notably vegetation zones. Climate factors act as independent variables, but

Soils
Motivation: soil conditions form a crucial combination of physical and chemical conditions for natural vegetation and soil fauna. At the same time soil information is essential to assess the suitability for agricultural practices (arable land, grassland) and to assess production levels. As such, soil conditions (together with climate, topography and hydrology) can both help to determine potential agricultural use (in terms of suitability and limitations) and often explains former land use. Together with geological and geomorphological

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values pedological (= soil related) values can be considered as important. The contents of soil maps and their legends offer sufficient insight in surface geology, so that soil maps could serve also as proxies for surface geology which cannot be derived directly from most geological maps. Data availability: soil maps of Europe are available based upon internationally accepted classifications. Interpretations for agriculture and environmental issues (acidification, leaching of nutrients or contaminants) are available. Ecological interpretations are however more recent and incomplete or need further coordinated efforts. Conclusion: essential information, available and largely operational.

landscape, either seen with the eyes of the local observer, or with photos or with snapshots from aerial photography and remote sensing. In this context, landscape pattern shall be defined as a structural characteristic related to land use, land use history and biophysical components. European landscapes, which are dominantly cultural landscapes except for some regions (such as the tundra in the (sub-)arctic region, glaciers in the alpine regions or some wetlands) contain a historical wealth from various eras. Insight in actual or potential biodiversity is also strongly related to former land use. Data availability: at the European level, the availability of harmonized data on landscape patterns related to field structures, linear and punctual landscape elements, archaeology, architecture and history is extremely limited. Currently several research centres try to overcome these problems, however it cannot be expected that the process of filling gaps in knowledge, accomplishing an internationally accepted typology and full cover surveys will deliver data within a few years. In between it is inevitable to use fragmented and seriously incomplete data. Conclusions: for policy and scientific reasons these data are important, but seriously incomplete. Substantial improvements can only be partially expected, e.g. through automatic interpretations of aerial photography, while data on historical and archaeological features cannot be expected within a few years.

Land use
Motivation: land cover can be seen as the spatially and time specific expression of land use or natural vegetation. Land cover includes a full range typology of natural features (e.g. forest, marsh, rock, snow and ice), semi-natural or fully agricultural situations (extensive to intensive grassland, orchards or arable land,) and artificial land (built-up area, associated infrastructure). Most classifications have much in common and can be further detailed depending on the goals of the studies. Still legend categories are often difficult to compare and to combine. Data availability: generally data are available in full cover and of a recent date when satellite images are used. Their spectral and spatial resolution generally is adequate. Satellite data however have to be classified according to the specific goals and need sufficient checks with ground truth. Some land cover types are hard to distinguish from satellite pictures alone and need supplementary knowledge from other sources such as topographic maps or cadastral information as has been done within the Corine land cover project (CEC, 1994). Satellite data are acquired on a regular basis and are therefore a potentially good tool for monitoring. Conclusions: land cover data are essential, widely applicable and relatively easily obtainable and can be considered as core data.

Development of the European landscape typology


For the delineation of the major landscape types three major data sets have been identified: 1. climate (Metzger et al., in press); 2. topography (GTOPO30, grid data, 1 km resolution); 3. parent material/Ecological stand conditions (European Soil Database 1:1M, vector data); 4. land use/land cover (CLC database, vector data, 1:100 000). These three core data sets determine the matrix for a European landscape map. Specific landscapes, such as wetlands or bocages are delineated within this matrix on the basis of additional data sources (Mcher et al., in press). In the case of wetlands or urban landscapes the identification could be directly based on CLC. For the segmentation of the major landscapes the software package eCognition (Definiens Imaging, 2003) has been used. ECognition is object-oriented image classification software for multi-scale analysis of earth observation data of all kinds. The image

Landscape patterns
Motivation: landscape patterns reflect biophysical conditions as well as spatial and temporal aspects of human land use (e.g. use of management technique, field size, boundary types, seasonality of crops, cultural and archaeological components). The most persistent and dominant aspect is the result of the combination, namely the image of the

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Figure 38

Draft European landscape typology map

classification is based on attributes of image objects (semantic information) rather than on the attributes of individual pixels. The above data input layers are based on: high quality cartographic basis showing coastlines, boundaries, rivers and lakes, infrastructure; these data are not considered as differentiating parameters; topography (digital terrain model), altitude in classes (possibility to derive additional data on slopes, relief energy/ areal unit); data from US Geological Survey GTOPO30; parent material/agro-ecological soil conditions: these parameters are very decisive for both historic, current or future land use by agriculture, nature or other land use types. Data are derived from the 1:1M European Soil

Database (CEC, 1985); land cover/current land use: based upon a generalization of the CLC database. For other European areas data sources such as the PELCOM land cover database (Pan-European Land Use and land Cover Monitoring; WUR, 2004) can be used or are under construction; environmental zones, as derived from the Environmental Classification of Europe (Metzger et al., in press), based upon independent climate data, improved by adding data on topography (altitude, slope, exposition) and oceanicity. The resulting European landscape map is demonstrated in Figure 38. The database has now 376 landscape types and more than 14000 map objects. The LCC code is based on the environmental class (climate), the dominant altitude class,

78 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Figure 39

Coding system for landscape typology based on topography, parent material and land cover

parent material class and land use class (Figure 39). The current landscape classification is now being distributed and revised by a limited number of landscape experts and on basis of their comments the landscape map will be improved. Outside the European Union and the accession countries databases like CLC and the European Soil Database are not available, requiring the use of substitute data. The final typology consisting of 376 landscape types has a four-component code (Figure 39): the first capital letter is used for the environmental class/climate gradient, the next small letter indicates the topographic class, the third (small) letter stands for the parent material and the last two letters inform about the land cover class. The environmental classes (e.g. Alpine south, Nemoral, Pannonian) (Metzger et al., in press) have not only been attached to each landscape mapping unit, they also form part of the maps broad colour scheme. For the urban landscapes the information was derived from the CLC database. However, some extra processing was done to derive only the larger urban agglomerations, for which a 5x5 km majority filter was used. A large advantage of the European landscape classification is that its selection of boundaries is consistent and transparent by being based on the underlying layers: topography, parent material and land cover. However, if misclassifications do

occur in one of the three underlying layers this is reflected in the European landscape classification. The fact that the European landscape classification lacks information on the land use history is a limiting factor but was so far difficult to collect at the European scale.

2.5.3 Methodological approach for landscape state and vulnerability assessment


The landscape map and underlying landscape types can be seen as a framework in which the identification of risk zones for European landscapes can be examined. According to the ELISA project (Wascher, 2000a) and EnRisk project proposal, the identification of risk zones for European landscapes addresses the following three key landscape attributes: landscape diversity; landscape coherence; landscape openness/closedness. The landscape types in the landscape map are based on clustering of equal landscape characteristics at a certain segmentation level. The examination of similarities and differences for the three key landscape attributes below this level (and thus within the boundaries of the 14000 map objects), can provide information about the risk values of the European landscape. Identical landscape map types can

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Figure 40

Methodological approach for the identification of EnRisk landscape risk zones

80 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Step I: Identifying thresholds for landscape quality


The European landscape character map and typology is based on three sets of environmental data that provide attributes for each identified landscape unit. Nevertheless, the three landscape attributes that have been addressed in both the ELISA and the EnRisk approach (diversity, coherence and openness/closedness) will require further analysis with the help of additional data. The identification of thresholds for landscape quality is by definition a rather challenging objective because this is partly linked to subjective judgements that can considerably vary across regions and nations. However, synthesizing the qualitative and quantitative assessments undertaken for landscape attributes such as diversity and coherence provides a gradient of attribute conditions per landscape character area unit. Such gradient is likely to range between high to low or non-presence of attribute values. While such an assessment is technically feasible, it will be harder to assign quality labels to these landscapes since this will partly depend on societal preferences for example, homogenous polder landscapes have their historical and behave differently for the defined landscape attributes. The question of how agricultural land use can potentially have negative impacts on these landscape attributes involves a variety of spatial and functional considerations. Four principle research questions can be differentiated: 1. How can landscape attributes such as diversity, coherence and openness/closedness be used to define thresholds of landscape quality? 2. How does the presence or absence of demands for agricultural land use including land abandonment translate into (multiple) landscape functions? 3. Where are thresholds of landscape quality vulnerable to the projected demands on landscape (risk zones)? 4. How do agri-environmental pressures as developed within other EnRisk themes erosion processes, eutrophication and pesticide use relate to the risk zones? For all four questions, the identification and description of the relevant landscape units at the European level form an essential reference base for localizing, quantifying and qualifying the types of risks that can be expected. Figure 40 illustrates the three-step methodological approach for the identification of EnRisk landscape risk zones. The three steps are described in detail on the following pages. The underlying calculation steps have been described in more detail in Section 2.5.5. aesthetical raison dtre. Therefore, step II identifies attribute ranges (gradients) and offers these as thresholds for landscape quality. The methodological approach for this step is to analyse, on the basis of intrinsic agricultural diversity derived from Corine land cover types: the agricultural diversity profile of landscape units; the agricultural coherence profile of landscape units; the agricultural openness/closedness of landscape units. Besides the lack of national/regional information on targets, there is also a lack of structural data on the presence of linear, point and cultural features (e.g. hedges, ponds, architectural or archaeological sites), which form an essential component of any landscape assessment at the European level. Despite these severe data problems, the existing European data on land cover offer opportunities to perform proxy-assessments for partial aspects of the above landscape attributes. The main focus of the EnRisk landscape assessment is on the agri-environmental and agri-socio-economic impacts of land use changes. Though these changes are known to also affect non-agricultural landscapes (e.g. forests, peatlands), the emphasis is on analysing the status quo rather than the landscape changes over the past, and the role of agricultural land use classes with regard to the appearance of

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landscapes. Therefore, the characteristics of the Corine land cover classes themselves can be considered a useful information source as they represent intrinsic values with regard to the attributes to be assessed. For example, the Corine land cover class complex cultivation patterns or natural grasslands is associated with high diversity, while irrigated arable land or pasture is of lower diversity. While accepting the limitation with regard to structural data, the proposed intrinsic attribute approach can be used to define expert thresholds for assessing the state of Europes landscapes.

2.5.4 Calculation towards landscape vulnerability for diversity Step I: Landscape state assessment for attribute diversity
Due to its state of development, the landscape state assessment needed to be limited to one of the three proposed attributes, for which diversity was chosen. The reason for this choice is that: landscape diversity appears a more commonly recognized attribute throughout the whole of Europe; landscape diversity has clear policy support, e.g. in the PEBLDS (Council of Europe et al., 1996), but also the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, 2000); current landscape indicator developments by the European Commission (IRENA project) point at landscape diversity as one of the key policy issues; the case study examples that have been chosen in support for the European risk assessment are also addressing issues of landscape diversity. Before deciding to use the intrinsic value approach to define expert thresholds when assessing the state of landscapes, other alternatives have been carefully examined, but ultimately discarded: 1. a previous assessment approach tested out for the EnRisk interim report (Delbaere, 2003), has been the identification and use of ecotopes as a key reference for landscape attribute assessment. The approach made use of biophysical data such as soil and vegetation in combination with land cover in order to model homogenous ecotopes within landscape units. However, due to the use of rather similar data sets when developing the European landscape typology and map, the ecotope lacked methodological transparency and robustness; 2. another possible approach derived from the landscape indicator development for the IRENA project. During an IRENA workshop in Copenhagen (May 2004), the use of the Shannon Index had been criticized for producing levels of diversity that is more strongly related to an inherent complexity of the way data is being analysed and to a lesser degree capturing true landscape diversity. Instead, so the argument of some representatives, a much simpler approach, namely the quantity of different agricultural Corine land cover classes within a certain landscape unit, would provide a much more reliable indication of landscape diversity. However, after having tried out such a simple approach, the landcape research team within EnRisk came to the conclusion that the results did not meet the

Step II: Identifying landscape vulnerability


As mentioned under step I, the vulnerability of certain landscapes towards socio-economic demands and the associated environmental changes is easier to acknowledge with regard to ecological functions than to social or policy functions. However, the identified gradients for cumulative attribute values (landscape diversity x coherence) and for openness/closedness can serve as a point of reference when examining their compatibility with the prognostic socioeconomic demands. First, criteria for landscape vulnerability towards these demands are defined. The methodological approach for this step is as follows: identify, by using additional assessment techniques such as policy analysis, questionnaires and expert judgement, those landscape units which are sensitive to certain types of agricultural practices and land use changes in order to analyse the vulnerability of landscape diversity, landscape coherence and landscape openness/closedness; use the results of the previous steps in order to identify ranges of cumulative attribute values from high towards low levels of diversity and coherence explore the relation to openness/closedness so as to develop thresholds of landscape quality.

Step III: Identifying landscape risk zones


Landscape risk zones are identified at the interface of landscape vulnerability and environmental pressures. This step requires a case-by-case analysis of the type of pressure as well as of the direction of the pressure vector. For this study, the vulnerability associated with different types of landscape diversity has been correlated with different levels of agricultural land use intensity (in this case livestock density, see following section).

82 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Table 23

Estimated intrinsic diversity value of agricultural Corine land cover types


Corine land cover class Intrinsic landscape diversity 2.1.1. Non-irrigated arable land 2.1.2. Permanently irrigated land 2.1.3. Rice fields 2.2.1. Vineyards 2.2.2. Fruit trees and berry plantations 2.2.3. Olive groves 2.3.1. Pastures 2.4.1. Annual crops associated with permanent crops 2.4.2. Complex cultivation patterns 2.4.3. Land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation 2.4.4. Agro-forestry areas 3.2.1. Natural grassland 3.2.2. Moors and heathland 3.2.3. Sclerophyllous vegetation 3.2.4. Transitional woodland shrub low low average average high high low average high average Agricultural use yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

average high average high high

yes possible yes possible possible

expectations: it became clear that the size of each landscape type plaid a key role when determining diversity through the number of Corine agricultural land cover classes. The simple result was that large landscape units (polygons) consist (by nature) of many more land cover classes, while small ones have proportionally much less. This approach was hence abandoned. The intrinsic value approach appeared to be more promising as this assessment is more strongly based on concrete landscape characteristics as associated with land cover classes that have been detected. Developing a map of landscape state thresholds based on the intrinsic approach required four subsequent methodological steps.

Of course, expert assessments on such characteristics for the whole of Europe are not without a problem and it can be anticipated that different experts (especially coming from different countries and regions) will arrive at different judgements. Because of this limitation, Step II has been designed to provide further scrutiny in the interpretation of the results.

Step Ib:
The area percentage of the intrinsic Corine diversity has been summarized for all the polygons (ID see Figure 41) in the landscape map. Results for each polygon are four values (Figure 41): A: 1. share of area with low intrinsic Corine diversity (low_cor); 2. share of area with average intrinsic Corine diversity (med_cor); 3. share of area with high intrinsic Corine diversity (hi_cor); B: 4. total share of (possible) agricultural area (sum_cor).

Step Ia:
Each agricultural Corine class has been analysed according to its likely characteristics with regard to diversity and given an expert judgement for its intrinsic landscape diversity value. All agricultural classes and classes with possible agricultural activities have been part of this step.

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Figure 41

Example of records with calculation results from the database that is underpinning the landscape map

Step Ic:
For each of the columns in step Ib, A (low_cor, med_cor, hi_ cor) the following calculation has been made to interpret the results: of the average value, based on the average and standard deviation of all the records in a column (See C in Figure 41).

Step Id:
The calculation results from B and C (Figure 41) have been used to classify all the polygons of the landscape map file into the following classes:

where Record_std is the record standard deviation based on Record value, column average value and standard deviation of all the column records Record_cor is the value of the record in Step Ib A: Calculated results for each polygon (low_cor, med_cor, hi_cor) Column_cor is corresponding columns from Step Ib A (low_ cor, med_cor, hi_cor) The result is the number of occurrences times the deviation
Very high intrinsic diversity High intrinsic diversity Average or high intrinsic diversity Average intrinsic diversity Low intrinsic diversity Very low intrinsic diversity No specific diversity expected No data Agr. % corine < 50% Non agricultural No Corine Land Cover

84 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Figure 42

Expected agricultural landscape diversity

Sweden, most of central Europe (including middle and southern Germany, the Alpine regions, large parts of France), as well as central Italy and major parts of the western Iberian Peninsula. The most important aspect in this result is that both the high as well as the low intrinsic values of agricultural diversity must be considered to be of special landscape value.

based on intrinsic diversity of Corine land cover types

Step II: Landscape vulnerability assessment diversity


The vulnerability assessment has been produced by a calculation of the Shannon evenness diversity value (HP) (Shannon & Weaver, 1962) of agricultural Corine land cover types. In contrast to the intrinsic diversity approach (Step I), this assessment examines the spatial distribution between classes. The Shannon index (H) accounts for both the abundance, and evenness of the represented classes. The proportion of classes i relative to the total number of classes (pi) is calculated, and then multiplied by the natural logarithm of this proportion (lnpi). The resulting product is summed across S classes, and multiplied by -1:

The results of steps Ib and Ic shown in Figure 42 provide a rather polarized image of intrinsic land cover diversity throughout Europe. Bearing in mind the absence of structural data on landscape diversity components such as hedges and ponds, the result comes across as a rather accurate depiction of land cover characteristics in Europe: low and very low intrinsic diversity is recognized for northwest European lowlands between the middle mountain regions towards the North Sea and Atlantic coast, most of Ireland and the United Kingdom with the exception of northern Scotland, parts of the larger Paris agricultural region, Normandy and Gascogne, the Italian Po valley and Lon, the Ebro as well as Guadalquivir lowlands in Spain; high and very high intrinsic diversity is mainly detected for Scottish southern Uplands, the English Cumbria District, Gwynedd and the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, the northwest coast of Ireland; Brittany, Languedoc and Provence in France; North-Brabant and Limburg in the Netherlands as well as the Belgian Ardennes, large parts of the Iberian Peninsula, especially Valencia and Catalonia in Spain, but also the whole of Corsica and Sicily; of average intrinsic diversity are northern Scotland, south A high HP value means Hi is close to Hmax, that is, the system is nearly in a state of equiprobability; there is a high degree of diversity present. Conversely, a low HP value means that Hi is small relative to Hmax, that is, the system has diverged substantially from equiprobability and is not very diverse. To take an example, if H i=1 is 1.5 and Hmax is 2.0, the H value would be 0.5 (see Equation 1). In this case 0.5 is a substantial divergence, since it represents 25% of Hmax. Shannons Evenness (here HP) is calculated by dividing H by Hmax (here Hmax = lnS). Evenness assumes a value between 0 and 1 with 1 being complete evenness: divergence from equiprobability (Shannon & Weaver, 1962). Equation 2: Equation 1:

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Step IIa:
In this study HP was calculated for agricultural Corine classes (Table 23). The HP values were reclassified using the same principles explained in Step Ic. The result is the number of occurrences times the deviation of the average HP value, based on the average and standard deviation of all the records in a column. Resulting classes (based on 2, 1, 0, 1, 2 stdev) (Figure 43):

Figure 43

European Shannon diversity map

Very high intrinsic diversity High diversity Average diversity Low diversity Very low diversity No data Agr. % corine < 50% Non agricultural No Corine Land Cover

Step IIb: Landscape diversity vulnerability


Identifying the vulnerability of certain landscape types towards agricultural pressures poses another challenge for this European top-down data assessment approach. In the absence of clearly defined parameters for landscape vulnerability, it was considered as a useful approach to interpret the presence of highly extreme levels of landscape diversity deriving from high scores of both Shannon and intrinsic diversity within the same landscape type as a possible indication for landscape diversity vulnerability. In concrete terms, this means that landscape units where very high or very low Shannon diversity is confirmed by equally high or equally low levels of intrinsic diversity are considered as being vulnerable against certain agricultural land use changes. This is certainly true in European lowland regions where certain large-scale pasture farming must be considered as the adequate and often traditional land use type. In such areas, a diversification of land use would most likely result in the loss of land use values that are relevant in the eyes of the regional stakeholders and policymakers. The other extreme, high landscape diversity vulnerability due to extreme high Shannon diversity and intrinsic diversity values points at the presence of diverse land use schemes that are eventually contributing to a positive

landscape value. Figure 44 shows the calculated Shannon diversity (E) and the reclassified results (F). However, in the latter instance, the link is much more difficult to establish as the actual land use diversity might be a result of a diversification process that has already harmed or replaced former, less diverse landscapes. In this case vulnerability must be interpreted in an entirely different way, namely as an indication for an already advanced state of landscape diversification that should be stopped or reversed in order to re-establish previous landscape values. The two case studies in the Green Heart of Holland (The Netherlands) and in Murcia (Spain) are useful examples for illustrating these two principle trends. Nevertheless, the authors of this methodology for determining vulnerability for landscape diversity are aware of its limitations with regard to a fully automated assessment procedure that does not take account of regional specifications. The area distribution of a cross tabulation of D and F is given in Table 24. For assessing landscape vulnerability, the selection was divided into five classes: 1. very vulnerable: both intrinsic Corine and Shannon diversity are low; 2. vulnerable: intrinsic Corine diversity is low;

86 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Figure 44

Example of records with vulnerability calculation results from the database that is underpinning the

landscape map

3. not specifically vulnerable; 4. vulnerable: intrinsic Corine diversity is high; 5. very vulnerable: both intrinsic Corine and Shannon diversity are high. Table 24 explains the relation between the calculated Intrinsic and Shannon diversity values in the landscape map. This table shows a clear relation between landscapes with low intrinsic diversity-values and the calculated Shannon

diversity in these landscapes. In landscapes with low intrinsic diversity the Shannon index is (very) low (77% of the area) or average (23%), but never high. The same relation can be found for high intrinsic diversity values. 58% of the area with high intrinsic diversity values has also high Shannon diversity values. This means that there is a number of classes mixed in one landscape area, all with relatively high intrinsic diversity value (Figure 45). 5% of

Table 24

Cross tabulation of percentage area of Intrinsic (x-axis) and Shannon diversity (y-axis) in the landscape map
High intrinsic diversity Average intrinsic diversity 10 % 18 % 47 % 17 % 8% Low intrinsic diversity 41 % 36 % 23 % 0% 0% No specific diversity expected 2% 3% 63 % 26 % 6%

Shannon diversity

Very low diversity Low diversity Average diversity High diversity Very high diversity

1% 4% 37 % 49 % 9%

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Figure 45

Example of a relation between Intrinsic and Shannon diversity in the landscape map

the high intrinsic diversity areas have low Shannon index values. So these landscapes are more monotonous despite being of high intrinsic diversity (Figure 45).

diversity are not identified nor excluded from this assessment, thus distorting the baseline qualities of the results, namely that existing high and low levels of diversity are considered as references for detecting vulnerability against future change. However, the proposed approach in combining two separate assessment procedures for detecting levels of agricultural land use diversity appear as a partial, but nevertheless useful methodology in the field of top-down data analysis for European landscape assessment. In comparison to the step I results, Figure 46 illustrates that taking into account the spatial diversity between land cover classes has relatively high effects on the overall rating of diversity levels and hence on the localization of vulnerability. While the overall distribution between high and low diversity is of course maintained, the extremely high vulnerability for highly diverse areas is much more extensive on the Iberian Peninsula and southern France compared to the purely intrinsic diversity assessment of the previous step. The same holds true for the presence of extremely low diversity areas that basically overlay the previous low diversity zones, with the exception of western Denmark and an adjacent part of Lower Saxony in Germany. The results illustrate, that most of the European higher and middle range mountain regions are actually not identified as vulnerable diversity areas. This is probably due to the fact that the relatively high land cover diversity in certain Mediterranean regions has statistically outplayed the less diverse but nevertheless socially and environmentally rather vulnerable (and policy relevant!) mountain landscapes in many European regions. Areas for which vulnerability has not been detected, are hence not without any problems, values or risks, but they are most likely not belonging to those landscapes where intrinsic and spatial diversity of agricultural land use is playing the role that has been the emphasis of this analysis. The fact that this approach is focusing primarily on

2.5.5 Interpretation of results


Since the identification of thresholds for the state of landscapes is essentially interpreting agricultural land cover classes on the basis of their intrinsic diversity values derived from expert judgement, it was felt that these results should be verified and re-enforced by additionally applying a more neutral and statistically driven method. While step I provides us with information on the location of land cover classes that represent different levels of intrinsic diversity, step II analyses the spatial distribution of the agricultural land cover classes within the landscape typology units. The combination of low and high levels of intrinsic diversity with low and high levels of spatial diversity calculated by means of the Shannon diversity index identifies landscape units where the current state of agricultural land cover must be considered as rather vulnerable with regard to possible changes of the management regimes. However, this type of vulnerability has a clearly different connotation than the sensitivity of certain species against agricultural pressures or the filter qualities of soils in the context of nutrient impacts on water quality. The methodological boundaries of the proposed approach need to be well understood in order to avoid misinterpretation: the already mentioned lack of structural data such as on hedgerows, water bodies or cultural objects are limiting factors with regard to the overall landscape character; the labelling of agricultural land cover classes with regard to their intrinsic diversity on the basis of expert judgement is culturally biased, partially subjective and difficult to generalize for the whole of Europe; past land cover changes with negative impacts on landscape

88 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape

Figure 46 Figure 47

Vulnerability of landscapes based on agricultural diversity Landscape diversity at risk from livestock density

left right

Note: intrinsic diversity and Shannon diversity of Corine land cover types

0 150 300 600 900 1,200 1,500 km

areas where landscape diversity appears in rather polarized ways the extreme highs and lows does not address large areas in middle Europe, the norh-western Iberian Peninsula and eastern Italy where different forms of landscape diversity are likely to occur. For instance the diverse land use comprising both intensive and extensive agricultural land parcels forming mosaic landscapes are of great policy interest without that they are explicitly captured in this assessment. From the viewpoint of future agri-environmental measures and policies, this implies a rather targeted guidance with regard to land use change. However, the result should not be interpreted as a blueprint for any kind of risk affecting landscapes in Europe.

2.5.6 Landscape risk assessment: example of livestock density


Analysing the correlations that exist between landscape diversity vulnerability and the (potential) agricultural pressures deriving from livestock keeping (Figure 47) confirms a number of expectations while presenting also some new insights. The data confirms mainly that: high livestock density coincides mainly with areas that have been classfied as very vulnerable due to low landscape diversity; the combination of high livestock density and high landscape diversity could not be detected on the basis of the current data aggregations;

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dominating is the combination between very high vulnerability in northern European regions due to low landscape diversity and in southern Europe due to high landscape diversity is dominant, both coupled with low livestock density patterns. Most obviously the assessment captures the link between medium and high livestock density affecting low diversity landscapes in north-western Germany (East-Friesland and South-Oldenburg), western Netherlands (Province of Gelderland), western Flanders (Belgium) and the Polowlands in northern Italy. Many of these areas have a tradition in livestock keeping on rather poor sandy or peat land soils. It appears that the re-classification of the original polygon data into the EnRisk, 50x50 km grid has led to a loss of some area-specific information, e.g. in the case of SouthOldenburg and Dutch province of North-Brabant where the map should indicate the extremely high numbers in livestock density. It is interesting to recognize, that the coincidence of very vulnerable diversity with high livestock density could not be detected anywhere, and that the combination with only medium livestock density appears only in north-western Iberian peninsula, while there are many grids where low livestock density exists in very vulnerable and vulnerable landscapes. It can be concluded that in such areas, livestock density is not likely to form the key environmental problem for diverse landscapes. Perhaps spatially more detailed datasets can better detect the specific landscape diversity in these areas.

90 Risk assessment at the European scale / Landscape / Matching environmental risk zones with

2.6 Matching environmental risk zones with farm types

Figure 48

Risk: high Erosion (> 5t ha-1 y-1) coincides

with high livestock density (>1.5 LU ha-1)

0 150 300

600

900

1,200

1,500 km

2.6.1 Soil erosion


Among various farm characteristics a high livestock density was regarded particularly critical for areas, where soil erosion is high. Several reasons may be given: grazing livestock may promote erosion because of heavy weight (cattle) or, in dry regions, because plant cover is reduced. In the case of pig fattening or pig breeding a high percentage of corn, which is a widespread fodder crop for pigs, may promote erosion as it provides only little protection against erosion. Additionally high amounts of manure would present a particular risk for water bodies where soil erosion is high. A combined risk of livestock density and soil erosion was considered for areas with medium or higher soil erosion (above 5 t ha-1 year-1) and a livestock density above 1.5 LU ha-1. Only a few grid cells show up where those values co-occur (Figure 48). They are located in northern parts of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. face a concentration of livestock production with specialization into animal farming. Table 25 clarifies specialization and concentration of livestock production in such regions.

2.6.3 Pesticide
The correlation between pesticide use and certain farm type parameters as surveyed in the FADN is very trivial. It concerns the costs of crop protection products (FADNcategory F) and the share of the area of particular crops of the total farm area (FADN-category K). Differences in the crop-specific pesticide risk indices are less caused by the kind of pesticides used in the crop but more by the different application frequencies. So for example 20 to 30 pesticide applications in apples are common whereas three to four applications in wheat are sufficient to protect that crop against weeds, diseases and pest insects. As a consequence farms with high share of arable crops belong to a lower risk class than farms with a high share of perennial crops. Something similar is true for pesticide costs. The higher the costs the higher the pesticide use and pesticide risk. But this

2.6.2 Eutrophication
Eutrophication problems from agriculture are highest in regions with a high stocking density. Such regions also tend to

farm types

91

Table 25

Livestock production on farms with stocking

simple message could also lead into a wrong risk classification of farms. Often old pesticides with a higher risk potential to environment are much cheaper than new ones with low environmental risk. Therefore it can be concluded that the combination of the application frequency with the intrinsic eco-toxicological properties of the pesticides used in the crop, as the indicator model SYNOPS does, provides a more clear risk figure than pesticide costs.

density of at least 2 LU per hectare of UAA in 2000

Share of total livestock production (%)

Share of total number of holdings (%)

Country/region

2.6.4 Relating biodiversity risk zones to farm practices


Section 2.4.4 described and interpreted the biodiversity risk zones in terms of linking vulnerability and pressures. This section aims at explaining the observed patterns by looking at farm practice variable, as they are availables at HARM1 level (Source: FADN-CCE-DG Agriculture/A-3; adaptation LEI). When comparing the biodiversity risk values at the level of 50x50 km cells with the farm level data at regional level, the following observations can be made: the top five highest risk zones for wet grasslands correspond to the top five highest livestock density regions in the EU15. All of these regions have one third to over half of their UAA covered with average livestock densities of 5.8 to 6.9 LU/ha. It is primarily the extent of area with high livestock densities that defines the pressure, rather than the density level itself. For example, most regions of Spain have much higher values (up to ten times as high) but a very small part of the land; on the other end of the spectrum, the areas of lowest risks for wet grasslands are characterized by area coverage of 50 to a high 85% of UAA with less than 1 LU/ha; also for montane grasslands, the high risk area in Catalonia corresponds to a value of 23% of UAA with 10.9 LU/ha; the lack of high risk zones for dry grasslands corresponds to overall low livestock density (all cells in regions with less than 1.5 LU/ha); finally, the arable risk zones correspond to the highest levels of terrestrial pesticide use on arable land on the largest extent of land (e.g. in the Netherlands 38% of the UAA falls into pesticide risk classes 5 and 6).

Austria Belgium Denmark EU-15 Finland France Brittany Germany Lower Saxony North-Rhine Westphalia Greece Ireland Italy Emilia-Romagna Lombardy Luxembourg Netherlands Portugal Spain Catalonia Sweden United Kingdom

11 41 25 11 4 9 37 24 35 39 10 10 5 6 21 6 54 6 11 24 5 18

31 74 73 51 21 42 76 44 62 72 76 22 62 83 87 18 93 38 69 92 24 38

2.6.5 Landscapes
An analysis of the FADN Harm1 data on farm structures can complement the risk assessment in various ways. In order to explore the possible application of the data, a targeted selection representing the methodological approach of the landscape risk assessment has been undertaken by

Source: FADN-CCE-DG Agriculture/A-3; adaptation LEI

92 Risk assessment at the European scale / Matching environmental risk zones with farm types

Table 26

Selection of HARM1-areas with equal or more than 2 LU/ha and more than 100,000 Livestock Farms

Total regional livestock population (= total LU)

LU grazing livestock (cattle, sheep and goats)

Share cattle in total livestock population (%)

Share sheep and goats in total livestock

Share pigs and poultry in total livestock

Livestock population (1000 LU)

per ha grassland (LU/ha)

population (%)

Belgium Denmark France N-Pas-de-Calais Germany Brandenburg Bayern North-Rhein Westphalia Greece Ipiros-Pelop.-Nissi Sterea Ellas-Nissi Makedonia-Thraki Thessalia Italy Lazio Campania Piemonte Veneto Emilia-Romagna Lombardia Netherlands Portugal Norte-Centro Lisboa e Vale d Tejo Spain Andaluca Castilla y Len Castilla-La Mancha Aragn Navarra Murcia Catalua Com. Valenciana

74 73

3035 3498

4 6

32 11

0 0

68 89

32

226

28

72

16 40 72

113 1649 2114

4 4 6

30 41 22

3 1 0

67 59 78

70 77 77 80 47 58 59 79 83 87 93

396 520 388 144 101 148 420 493 1041 1491 7456

26 86 99 96 35 109 15 14 32 25 4

12 2 26 25 75 94 53 60 41 49 34

62 94 73 75 22 3 0 0 0 0 2

26 4 1 0 2 2 47 40 58 51 64

44 86 41 64 68 80 84 91 92 94

364 206 432 1219 259 1224 240 324 2091 504

99 28 11 35 7 1 5 100 25 5

67 13 17 17 10 19 21 8 7 2

2 0 20 20 51 11 24 8 0 1

31 87 63 62 39 70 54 84 93 97

Source: FADN-CCE-DG Agriculture/A-3; adaptation LEI

population (%)

93

selecting those HARM-areas with relatively high livestock density (=> 2 LU/ha) and with more than 100,000 livestock farms present (Table 26). The table overview demonstrates that the data provided by FADN offers some interesting complementary information with regard to: share of cattle in total livestock population (%); share of sheep and goat in total livestock population (%); share of pigs and poultry in total livestock population (%). This information is especially interesting for the interpretation of true grazing pressures as some of these livestock types are managed more indoors, and are hence to a lesser extent affecting the open landscape and its land use intensity. This can be illustrated with the examples from Germany, where Bavaria scores relatively high in cattle grazing, a livestock type that is less refined to indoor keeping than for instance pigs and poultry. On the other hand, in North-Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg, the reverse is true. But it also shows that this HARM-level assessment does not capture the extremely high livestock density that exists in south-Oldenburg in Lower Saxony: with less than four LU/ha, Lower Saxony is not part of this comparison, though it hosts one of the areas of highest livestock density in the world the reason being that this Bundesland has simply such a large total area size, that high peaks such as in south-Oldenburg are leveled out. The implications of the extremely high livestock densities identified in Mediterranean regions require further analysis.

94 Risk assessment at the European scale / Matching environmental risk zones with farm types /

2.7 Integrative assessment soil erosion and pesticide use

Figure 49

Combined impact score for pesticide risk and

the median values for soil erosion. Agricultural land

Note: scale different from Figure 50

Figure 50

Combined impact score for pesticide hazard

and the 90 percentiles for soil erosion. Permanent crops

A combined impact score was calculated for pesticide use and soil erosion. The underlying assumption was, that pesticides would more likely be washed to a water body if soil erosion occurs. To account for a typical case median values of soil erosion were multiplied with the aquatic risk values from the pesticide assessment. To represent high risk situations the 90 percentiles of soil erosion (representing the 10% worst cases) were multiplied with the aquatic hazard data. Results were disaggregated according to different types of land use (agriculture, arable land, grassland, permanent crops). The map showing the typical situation for agricultural land highlights parts of Spain, Portugal and Italy, where for instance Sicily and the Alto Adige region show up (Figure 49). The combined risk of pesticide and erosion is essentially high for areas used for permanent crops. Permanent crops are most intensively treated with pesticides and often are planted on steep slopes. A combined impact score from the 90 percentiles for erosion and the aquatic hazard values for permanent crops indicates the highest risk for Alto Adige and Crete followed by the coastal region of Greece, parts of the Apennine and the south of Spain (Figure 50).


0 150 300 600 900 1,200 1,500 km

Note: scale different from Figure 49

Integrative assessment soil erosion and pesticide use

95

96 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / General description of the Region of Murcia, Spain

Risk assessment at local to regional scales


3.1 Introduction
The European phase of the EnRisk project has tested the usefulness of applying agri-environmental indicators and European-wide databases to identify environmental risk zones at the European scale. From the start of the project it has been clear that at this continental level and at a resolution of 50x50 km it is very hard to accurately delineate risk locations. Rather, a method has been developed that with the current quality and availability of environmental and agricultural data in Europe outlines coarse areas in Europe with a possible higher risk for negative impacts from agriculture. With future improvement of data this methodology and its output can be refined to become a more accurate delineation. In order to complement the European assessment, EnRisk also carried out ten case studies. The purpose of these case studies has been threefold: 1. to test the method that was developed for Europe at a local/ subnational scale using local datasets; 2. to refine and validate the output; 3. to illustrate issues that have not been covered by the European phase. Five areas in Europe were selected to study the ten cases. These have been selected on the basis of knowledge and expertise within the project team, and on geographical distribution throughout Europe. These areas are (Figure 51):

97

Figure 51

Location of EnRisk case study areas in Europe

Table 27

Overview of case studies and their objectives and thematical focus


Area Test & validation Murcia * (*) (*) * * (*) * * * * * * * * * * * * * Refinement Illustration SE PU E B L

Ybbs & Zala Lammspringe Green Heart Baltic Sea

Note: *: key focus, (*): additional value, SE: soil erosion, PU: pesticide use, E: eutrophication, B: biodiversity, L: landscapes

the Region of Murcia, Spain; the catchment area of the rivers Ybbs, Austria and Zala, Hungary; Lamspringe basin, the county of Hildesheim, Germany; the landscape area Green Heart, the Netherlands; the Baltic Sea. Table 27 shows how these case studies relate to the case study objectives and which environmental themes were covered in the case study areas.

98 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Introduction / General description of the Region of

3.2 General description of the Region of Murcia, Spain

exposure to the dominant winds, the distance from the sea and the configuration of relief. Due to these factors, the temperature differences between the coast and the interior are much more extreme in winter (Murcia turstica, 2004).

Landscape
Murcia stands out because of its multiple contrasts: dry vs. irrigated land, plains vs. mountainous areas, coastline vs. interior, vineyards vs. mesetas (plateau), factors which can no doubt be attributed to its location in a transitional area between the Sub-Btica mountain range and the northern Sub-Meseta. Morphologically, the relief of the territory of Murcia falls within the influence of the Btica mountain ranges and shows an alternation between mountainous tracts, valleys and depressions, leading to extreme contrasts of altitude over short distances. Of the total surface area, the majority (approximately 45%) is situated between the altitudes of 200-600 m; 23% is less than 200 m above sea level, and the remaining 32% lies at altitudes of over 600 m. The highest point in the region is the Revolcadores massif (2,027 m), followed by numerous other smaller mountain ranges located in the centre and northwest of the region, which boast the most important forested areas, with vast areas of pine trees. Special mention must be made of the Altiplano (Jumilla and Yecla), situated to the northeast of the region. It is a high plateau planted with vineyards from whose

3.2.1 Introduction Location


Located in the southeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, the Region of Murcia occupies an area of 11,375 km (2.2% of the total surface area of Spain). The population density is 98.53 inhabitants per km, which is higher than the national average (76.82). The three major cities are Murcia, Cartagena and Lorca (INFORMEST, 2004).

fruit the areas wines are produced. Further southwards low mountain ranges alternate with valleys through which the Guadalentn and Segura rivers flow, with rich agricultural land and wide fertile coastal plains, the most extensive of which is the Campo de Cartagena. Murcia has just over 170 km of coastline: coves and small beaches alternate with rocky shores and sheer, craggy cliffs. As a geographical accident of nature La Manga, a coastal strip of land, completely closes off the Mar Menor lagoon from the Mediterranean. The Murcia littoral offers on the one hand unprotected shores with wild seas and on the other hand small coves with calm, placid waters (Murcia turstica, 2004). However, the natural landscape is threatened from two fronts. From the coast, tourist urbanizations are spreading and from the inner land, agriculture is expanding. 14,000 hectares of protected areas have lost their legal protection to improve construction activities on behalf of tourism. In the fertile Region of Murcia, during the last ten years the expansion of urbanization has decreased the area of agriculture with 10%.

Climate
The Region of Murcia has a typical Mediterranean semi-arid subtropical climate: an average annual temperature of 18C, with hot summers (registering absolute maximum temperatures of 40C) and mild winters (an average temperature of 11C in the winter months of December and January). In general the rain is scarce throughout the region (approximately 300-350 mm/year), falling mainly in spring (April) and autumn (October), leaving summer an eminently dry season. The Region of Murcia is characterized by climatic differences, which leads to variation in the above-mentioned figures. These variations depend on the orientation and

Murcia, Spain

99

Figure 52

Topographical map of the Region of Murcia



0 150 300 600 900 1,200 1,500 km

Also desertification and erosion are severe problems in the southeastern region of Spain (Schouten, 2003).

The Region of Murcia is the leading producer of paprika nationwide (80% of the total), with over 100 companies dedicated to its elaboration. This product is one of the most characteristic ones within the extensive agricultural sector (The Virtual Trade Expo of Murcia, 2004). The Region of Murcia belongs to the river Segura basin, with an insufficient degree of water to cover the needs and due to the hot and dry climate agriculture is largely dependent on irrigation (from 1997 to 1999 the irrigated surface area of the region has expanded from 40 to 44%) (Schouten, 2003). Agriculture is the most water-consuming activity in the Region, with more than 80% of the total demand, with the implementation of the irrigation in the Segura basin since the Arab times (Garrida Escudero, 2004). The livestock consists chiefly of asses, mules, goats and pigs; horses, cattle, poultry and sheep being relatively few (Table 29) (The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia, 2002-03). The area used for livestock is relatively small (Table 30).

Agriculture
Over the course of time, Murcia has transformed itself from a traditional economy of agriculture and construction to one of service and manufacturing. By sectors, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can be split up into agriculture (9%), manufacturing (24%), construction (9%) and service (58%) (Erik network, 2004). An important sector in the economy of the Region of Murcia, agriculture has traditionally been the most important offer as regards worldwide markets. A wide variety of products, fresh and processed, originate from an important agricultural sector, the most revolutionary and advanced in the Spanish market (Figure 53 and Table 28). In fruits, the Region of Murcia is the leading producer nationwide of lemons, apricots and peaches; followed by plums and almonds and third in melons and table grapes. Especially the orange is abundant along the course of the Segura River and mulberries for sericulture are extensively grown around the capital. In vegetables, the Region is the leading producer of artichokes, lettuces, broccoli and green beans and the second producer of peppers and peas. The production of vegetables in the Region of Murcia comprises almost 50% of the national production.

Biodiversity (Direccin General de Medio Natural, 2004)


The Region of Murcia, as a part of the Mediterranean area, has a main role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Particularly, a large part of this biological richness is connected to the singular environmental conditions of the semi-arid southeast of Spain, especially in a European context, which origin is both the habitat diversity

100 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / General description of the Region of Murcia, Spain

Figure 53

Distribution of land

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, 2004

Table 28

Use of cultivated land in hectares (1999 Census)


Total Herbaceous Fruits Olives Vineyards Other cultivated land 1,682 59,733

Murcia Spain

440,986 16,920,359

209,150 12,399,723

166,749 1,151,968

22,691 2,273,589

40,714 1,035,347

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, 2004

Table 29

Number of livestock units in Europe, Spain and Murcia, split up by livestock category (1999 Census)
Cattle Lambs 572,161 20,989,148 Goats 135,444 2,743,149 Pigs 1,570,301 22,079,591 Poultry 2,812,344 182,446,364

Murcia Spain

58,744 511,523

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadstica, 2004

Table 30

Livestock area in Europe, Spain and Murcia (2000 Census)


Total utilized agricultural area (hectares) Permanent grazing land (hectares) % Share of graze area in the total of agricultural area

Murcia Spain Europe Source: Eurostat, 2000

453,860 26,158,410 126,791,050

16,040 9,368,390 44,935,120

3.5 35.8 35.4

101

Table 31

Species richness for selected taxa in Murcia compared to Spain and Europe
Birds Mammals 192 Reptiles 123 Amphibians 62 Fishes 358
(41% red list)

Vascular plants 12,500

Diurnal butterflies 576


(69 threatened)

Europe

514
(195 SPEC)

Spain

368

118

56

25

68

> 8,000
(1500 endemic)

221
(17 threatened in Europe, 14% on red data book)

Murcia

278

46

21

11

2000
(350 endemic, 78 threatened)

Note: SPEC = Species of European Conservation Concern; - = no data Sources: Europe: Delbaere (1998); Spain: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Van Swaay & Warren (2003); Murcia: Direccin General de Medio Natural (2004);

(spatial heterogeneity) and the human pressures (fires, agricultural practices, pasture, etc). Table 31 provides figures on biodiversity and its conservation status in relation to Europe. The Region of Murcia is characterized by the presence of 49 types and subtypes of natural and semi-natural habitats of European Community interest (Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive) that represent almost 20% of all habitats listed for Europe and almost half of the listed habitats of the Spanish Mediterranean biogeographic area. Together, these habitats cover 325,000 ha, 30% of the regional territory. 14 types of priority habitats (16% of the European total, and 61% of the Spanish Mediterranean region) have been identified and the best categories represented of the habitats are the sclerophyllous scrubs (more than 90,000 ha), the natural and semi-natural herbaceous formations (approximately 46,000 ha) and the coastal habitats and the halophyte communities (approximately 38,000 ha). The regional flora comprises more than 2000 vascular plant species. Approximately 350 of these are Iberian endemic species. Due to their endemism or rareness, 78 species are categorized as threatened or with special interest of conservation and 11 species are protected by national or European legislation (e.g. Habitats Directive). The region hosts 350 species of terrestrial vertebrates, of which 46 are mammals, 11 amphibians, 21 reptiles and 278

birds. 92 species (61 bird species) are included in the EU Habitats and Birds Directive and 59 are protected at regional scale (41 bird species). Murcia landscapes are also fundamental for the preservation of six of the most endangered species in Europe: the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), the great bustard (Otis tarda), the Bonellis eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus), the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni), the Iberian toothcarp (Aphanius iberus) and the coypu (Myocaster coypus), a large rodent. Almost 600 butterfly species (diurnal butterflies and moths) have been identified in Murcia (12% of the figure of Spain, which is 5000 species (ECOS-Boletn de Satisfaccin Ambiental de la Regin de Murcia, 2003)) of which 20 are Iberian endemics and 44 are threatened. During the 20th century, many vertebrate species got regionally extinct (e.g. roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), wolf (Canis lupus), red kite (Milvus milvus), lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), black vulture (Coragyps atratus), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Montagus Harrier (Circus pygargus), blackwinged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), bittern (Botaurus stellaris), purple gallinule (Porphyrula martinica), squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides), black tern (Chlidonias niger), corn crake (Crex crex) and red-crested pochard (Netta rufina)).

102 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / General description of the Region of Murcia, Spain

Table 32

Protected areas of Murcia


Protected natural areas Regional parks Natural reserves Protected landscapes* Other natural areas* 3 areas Natura 2000 network Area of fauna protection Internationally protected areas

ha Total* (ha)

55,552.53 666,514.26

225

13,709.05

554,524.68

17 areas

42,503

Note: *Including marine sites Source: Direccin General de Medio Natural, 2004

Table 33

Comparison of established protected areas in IUCN/WCPA categories I-VI


Murcia Area protected (ha) 69,186.58 6.08 Spain 4,240,200 8.41 EnRisk Region 65,865,850 15.26

% Land area protected

Source: SCBD, 2001; Marcelo Martnez Palao, Council of the Region of Murcia, pers. comm.

Protected areas
In the Region of Murcia protected areas have been established under a variety of designations. At regional level, protected areas are organized into five categories (Direccin General de Medio Natural, 2004): 1. Protected natural areas Regional parks Natural reserves Protected landscapes Natural monuments Other natural areas

approximately 6.08% of the Region of Murcia. This figure is much lower because proposed Natura 2000 sites are not included (Table 32). In order to give an idea at national and European level (EnRisk region), Spain comprises 4,245,630 ha, covering over 8.41% of the territory and 65,865,850 ha are protected in the European EnRisk region, which represents 15.26% of the total area (Table 33).

2. Natura 2000 network 3. Ecological sensitivity area (ASE) 4. Area of fauna protection (APF) 5. Internationally protected areas In total 666,514.26 ha of the Murcia territory, including marine environment and proposed Natura 2000 sites, have been designated as protected areas under international, national and regional regulations (Direccin General de Medio Natural, 2004). According to the IUCN categories I-VI (International Union for the conservation of Nature), 69,186.58 ha are designated as protected areas,

103

3.3 Soil erosion in the Region of Murcia, Spain

3.3.2 Data and model used in the case study area


La Direccin Tcnica in cooperation with Conservacin de la Naturaleza, Ministry of Agriculture and Environment developed a soil erosion map, which covers Murcia with an area of about 11,241 km (Bermdez, 2002). Additional to sheet erosion also gully erosion and mass movements were simulated. Surface erosion was assessed using the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) (Renard et al., 1997), a modified version of the USLE model (Wischmeier & Smith, 1978). The RUSLE uses the same type of factors as the USLE (Section 2.1.1) but their values have been improved due to the work of various developers (Weltz et al., 1987; Liu et al., 1994; Nearing, 1997). In general the changes from the USLE to the RUSLE fit into two categories: the incorporation of new and better data into the model calibration and factor calculation and a more detailed consideration of selected erosion processes. The case study map has a high resolution of 25x25 m. Estimates for soil loss, however, are given in relatively coarse classes. The EnRisk maps had therefore to be reclassified, whereas results from the case study map had to be aggregated to the 1x1 km and the 50x50 km grids for a comparison. For a comparison by land cover CLC 1990 was used.

3.3.1 The case study area


The European soil erosion map in Figure 5 indicates that high rates of soil loss may be expected within the Region of Murcia. Several natural factors are promoting erosion in this area: annual precipitation, ranging from 250 mm (coast) to 350 mm (uplands and mountains) is low. Several dry months in summer and a high rate evapotranspiration constrain the establishment of a protective plant cover. Thunderstorms and heavy rainfall intensity are common and increase the risk of soil loss. More or less 50% of the Region of Murcia is used for agricultural land. Agriculture is not limited to the flat areas of the valleys but covers some hilly parts too. Whereas the flat areas and gentle slopes are mainly used for vegetables and grains, perennial crops (like for instance lemon) are increasingly cultivated on slopes, which in some parts may be quite steep. Perennial crops cover about a quarter of the agricultural area of the district of Murcia.

3.3.3 Validation and comparison of the European approach


The European erosion map gives a lower estimate for soil loss than the local assessment. The mean values for the whole district are 6 t ha-1 year-1 from the European assessment whereas the case study gives 17 t ha-1 year-1 (Figure 78 in Section 3.8.3). Areas with an estimated soil loss below 5 t ha-1 year-1 are considerably larger by the European map, whereas for soil loss above 10 t ha-1 year-1 the case study map displays larger areas (Table 34). Values above 100 t ha-1 year-1 are only contained in the case study map. The conclusion therefore is that, although the European map already displays high values for the region of Murcia as compared to other parts of Europe, soil loss may still be underestimated by this assessment. Taking a look at the spatial distribution of soil loss both maps display no or low erosion for the valleys of the River Segura and the coastal plain north of Cartagena whereas a high soil loss is indicated for north of Lorcia and in the mountainous areas of Totana. Some parts near the coast have a high value in the European map, which do not show up in the case study map. Figure 54 shows that general patterns are similar for both assessments but also gives an idea on the limitations

104 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Soil erosion in the Region of Murcia, Spain

Table 34

Comparison of the extent of soil erosion within the different erosion classes
European map ha 648 392 231 506 181 968 35 007 3 743 0 0 % 59 21 17 3 0 0 0 ha 513 233 217 849 199 535 82 834 49 029 27 432 10 923 Case study map % 47 20 18 8 4 2 1 Difference % 12 1 -2 -4 -4 -2 -1

Erosion class (t ha-1 y-1) 0-5 5-10 10-25 25-50 50-100 100-200 >200

Figure 54

Soil erosion map of the Region of Murcia

Note: (Bermdez, 2002) calculated for the Region of Murcia (Inventario Nacional Erosin Suelo 2002-2012) (left) and the according section from the European assessment (right)

105

implied by the different resolution and scaling in both assessments. Consequently a regression analysis for the results from 1x1 km grid with the case study assessment did not yield satisfactory results. Arable land had comparably low values. Both assessments gave median values of 2 t ha year . The reason is that arable
-1 -1

rangelands, off-grade contouring and strip crop rotation. Perhaps the most extensive developments are the inclusion of sub factors for the cover-management factor C, for the effects of prior land use, canopy cover, ground surface cover, surface roughness and soil moisture, which undoubtedly plays a major role for the erosion calculation in the region of Murcia. Consequently the C factor was calculated with much more detail for the case study. Different properties of soil, vegetation, elevation and the management practice were taken into account at a resolution of 25 m. Another reason for differences may derive from the R factor, which was developed from new erosivity data from the western part of the United States and might not be fully applicable to Europe (Sonneveld & Nearing, 2003). However, the calculation of R was based on the data from 20 climate stations within the region of Murcia for the case study whereas the European assessment uses the same number of stations for the whole of Spain. This leads to distinct differences of the R factor from both assessments. Whereas there is a west-east continuum in the European map, the case study calculates high erosive rain in the mountainous centre and the north of the region.

land is mainly located at the flat parts of the valleys or at the coastal plain. For the mountainous area of Totana the European map displays higher values of soil loss than the local assessment. The case study might underestimate soil loss in this region as there is still intensive agriculture in this area although there are steep slopes. Highest amounts of soil erosion are predicted for perennial crops from both assessments. Whereas the case study estimated erosion rates even above 200 t ha year in some
-1 -1

parts the European assessment reaches estimates rates up to 50 t ha year for this type of land cover. The case study
-1 -1

calculated 28.4% of the area with permanent crops with a soil loss above 10 t ha-1 year-1, whereas the European assessment yields a considerably lower share of 14.1%. Pasture covers only a minor part of the case study area (below 1%). Both assessments predict low values. The case study assessment was aggregated to 50x50 km and results for high-risk areas (the 90 percentile values) for arable land and perennial crops were compared (pasture was left out due to the number of cases). At this level of aggregation both assessments match better than at the 1x1 km level and correlation yields an r = 0.52. Absolute values for soil loss, however, are higher from the case study. Displaying relative values for soil erosion at the 50x50 km grid is therefore better justifiable for the European map than the original 1x1 km grid. Several reasons may be given for the differences between both assessments: different resolutions, differences in the models and detail of data gathering. Consequences from a different resolution are partly obvious. Additionally a coarser resolution leads to a systematic underestimation of the steepness as demonstrated in Figure 81 (Section 3.8.3), which gives a reason to the fact that the case study generally yields higher values for soil loss than the European assessment. Several developments of the RUSLE improved the prediction of soil loss as compared to the USLE (Sonneveld & Nearing, 2003). That includes a consideration of the seasonal variability in the soil erodibility factor K, the slope length and steepness factor LS which depend on rill and interrill erosion rates and the inclusion of factors for subsurface drainage,

3.3.4 Tolerable soil loss


The Direccin General de la Conservacin de la Naturaleza included tolerable soil loss in their assessment, too. However their calculation uses a concept different to that applied for EnRisk. Basically soil loss is compared to a tolerance value, which is based on a time horizon of only 25 years. On the other hand there is a focus on the topsoil and not just the total rooting depth, as for EnRisk. As various factors are considered the concept is more complicated than that used for EnRisk. As the Murcia map is not available in the proper digital format a comparison can only be done visually (Figure 55). Both maps show a similar pattern, where the Segura valley, crossing from the southwest to the east and the coastal plain in the southeast may be spotted as areas with a comparably lower risk. Areas with high risk stand out similarly in several parts of both maps.

106 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Soil erosion in the Region of Murcia, Spain

Figure 55

Comparison of two tolerable soil erosion maps. Case study assessment of the Region of Murcia (left) and the

European method (right) using different scales for classification

107

3.4 Pesticide use in the Region of Murcia, Spain

for the European NUTS2/3 regions. Since arable crops are not so important in Murcia only two crop groups were distinguished: 1. All crops: wheat, barley, other cereals, maize, rape, sunflowers, sugar beets, potatoes, grape, orchards, citrus, olives, vegetables and melons and strawberries 2. Perennial crops: grape, orchards, citrus, and olives. Although cotton is also grown in Murcia the crop was not included because of missing pesticide use data. In detail we define: hterall (all crops, municipality) = Weighted mean value of terrestrial risk (crop, Spain) over all crops within the municipality haquall (all crops, municipality) = Weighted mean value of aquatic risk (crop, Spain) over all crops within the municipality The weights are determined by the share of crops of the total crop area within a municipality. hterper (perennial crops, municipality) = Weighted mean value of terrestrial risk (crop, Spain) over the perennial crops within the municipality haquper (perennial crops, municipality) = Weighted mean value of aquatic Risk (crop, Spain) over the perennial crops within the municipality. The weights are determined by the share of perennial crops of the total perennial crop area within the corresponding municipality.

3.4.1 Database
In spite of intensive investigation no regional pesticide use data could be made available by the local administrations in Murcia. The only way to include pesticide concerns into the Murcia case study was to suppose that the regional farmers apply pesticides in the same way, as it is known for the whole country. It means the Spanish crop specific risk indices as calculated by SYNOPS (Section 2.3.2) were also used for the corresponding crops grown in the Region of Murcia. But they were combined with the local crop statistics based on municipality data. The crop statistic data were again taken from the FADN (Source: FADN-CCE-DG Agriculture/A-3; adaptation LEI). The hydrological and climatic information to modify the original risk indices when mapping were obtained from digital maps provided by Jos Luis Linares, Council of the Region of Murcia.

For the purpose of mapping the original risk indices were modified (scaled) by additional information concerning the size of agricultural land use, the water density and the probability of precipitation in a municipality. That additional modification by using certain multiplication factors follows the same idea as applied for the European maps. Unlike to the European scale no use was made of Corine Land Cover data but local crop statistics and local digital maps, respectively. 1. The total area of agricultural land use was obtained by adding the area of all crops, the perennial crop area by adding up the perennial crops as listed above. Because of the considerable differences of the total area of the municipalities the share of the agricultural used land of the total area was chosen as multiplication factor and not the absolute values. That mode differs from the European mapping where the unique 50x50 km grid cell structure allowed taking the absolute crop areas as scaling factor. 2. The water density was derived from the digital hydrological map. The length of all surface water courses in a municipality was added up. To obtain a unit of square measure the total length was multiplied with an assumed average width of three

3.4.2 Method
To calculate the local risk indices the method of weighted mean value was applied as described in Section 2.3.2 (step 2)

108 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Pesticide use in the Region of Murcia, Spain

m for all rivers and streams. Finally the extensive surface water was added. The share of that water area of the total area of municipality provided the primary water index. 3. Since a large amount of streams and rivers falls dry during most time of a year the primary water index was multiplied with a factor that reflects the probability of precipitation. That probability factor was obtained from a digital map showing the number of months without any precipitation in Region Murcia according to: p = (12 number of dry months)/12. The final formulae for the scaled risk indices of each municipality are then: Terrestrial risk all crops = hterall (all crops, municipality) * share of area_all crops (municipality) Aquatic risk all crops = haquall (all crops, municipality) * share of area_all crops (municipality) * share of water area (municipality) * p (municipality) Terrestrial risk perennial crops = hterper (perennial crops, municipality) * share of area_perennial crops (municipality) Aquatic risk perennial crops = haquper (perennial crops, municipality) * share of area_perennial crops (municipality) * share of water area (municipality) * p (municipality)

the land or the density of surface water in a municipality. Therefore the risk indices have to be scaled by means of the factors: share of area_all crops/perennial crops (column 9/11 in Table 35), share of water area (column 12) and precipitation probability p (column 14). In Figure 58 and 59 the figures of the scaled risk indices caused by pesticide use in perennial crops are given as an example. Because of the different scaling procedure a summarizing of terrestrial and aquatic risk is not possible. Both aspects have to be considered separately. To explain the changes of the figures from the unscaled risk to the scaled one the scaling factors are also mapped (Figure 60 and 61). In Figure 60 the shares of the area of perennial crops of the total area of municipality are classified into six classes again using the procedure of natural breaks. The influence of the intensity of agricultural use becomes visible by comparing the scaled terrestrial risk (Figure 58) with the unscaled summarized risk (Figure 57) for perennial crops. For example, the municipalities Moratalla and Caravaca de la Cruz are theoretically classified as highly risky but because of the very low amount of perennial crops in these municipalities the risk in these regions is classified as very low or low in the final (scaled) risk map. Figure 61 shows the hydrological net that is the underlying basis for water index calculation. Rivers (ros), streams (arroyos) and lakes (extensive surface water) are marked in blue, the other watercourses like river beds (rambla) have got brown colours. Two versions of the water index were calculated. In the first version all surface watercourses and lakes were taken into consideration. In the second version only river streams and the extensive surface water contribute to the water index. The first version of calculation surely overestimates the surface water content of the municipalities and therefore the scaled risk index has been calculated as too high (Figure 59). In our opinion a better estimation of the aquatic risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops provides Figure 62. It uses the second version of water index calculation. But also Figure 62 shows a very theoretic figure of aquatic risk. It becomes only realistic if the watercourses really contain water, if there is no buffer between the last row of fruit trees and the surface watercourses etc. So the map rather visualizes the relative differences between the municipalities than the absolute level of risk. Because of the climatic conditions the absolute risk for aquatic organisms should be considered as very low in the Region of Murcia.

3.4.3 Results and discussion


Columns 3-6 of Table 35 show the unscaled risk indices as calculated according to the method of weighted mean values. The terrestrial index for all crops varies from 0 to 0.0856, the aquatic one from 0 to 0.6249. The value Zero is calculated for municipality Los Alczares where no agricultural crop is grown according to the crop statistics. Both maximum values are reached in the municipality Villanueva del Ro Segura driven by the indices for perennial crops of 0.0859 for terrestrial and 0.6271 for aquatic organisms, respectively. Considering the mean values over the municipalities (last row in Table 35) one can recognize that the values for terrestrial concerns are about ten times lower than the aquatic values. For a comprehensive description of risk both compartments could be summed up according to the general formula: Summarized risk = Terrestrial risk * 10 + Aquatic risk. It means that the influence of the summarized index is equalized between both aspects of risk. Figure 56 and 57 make these unscaled summarized risk indices visible. As done on the European scale, the Murcia unscaled risk indices are grouped into six classes using the method of natural breaks as default classification procedure in the ArcView software. As stated before both maps present only a very theoretical risk without reflection of the intensity of agricultural use of

109

Table 35
1

Variables related to pesticide risk assessment per municipality of the Region of Murcia
14
0.042 0.083 0.042 0.250 0.083 0.250 0.250 0.083 0.250 0.083 0.083 0.083 0.250 0.250 0.167 0.417 0.250 0.250 0.083 0.083 0.042 0.167 0.167 0.250

10

12

Months without precipitation (number)

Share of area_ perennial crops

Share of area_all crops

Area perennial crops

Share of water area

Area all crops

Municipality

Area total

haquper

hterper

haquall

hterall

ID

13

11

Abanilla Abarn guilas Albudeite Alcantarilla Alczares (Los) Aledo Alguazas Alhama de Murcia Archena Beniel Blanca Bullas Calasparra Campos del Ro Caravaca de la Cruz Cartagena Cehegn Ceut Cieza Fortuna Fuente-lamo Jumilla Librilla

5 6 45 26 29 39 37 24 32

0.0646 0.0576 0.0223 0.0796 0.0670 0.0000 0.0659 0.0827 0.0493

0.4782 0.4256 0.1643 0.5812 0.4899 0.0000 0.4867 0.6043 0.3648

0.0654 0.0673 0.0859 0.0859 0.0732 0.0000 0.0672 0.0848 0.0637

0.4841 0.4972 0.6272 0.6272 0.5346 0.0000 0.4965 0.6191 0.4711

23706 11381 25191 1697 562 2019 5025 2421 31317

5791 3864 5168 484 298 0 1306 1026 7554

0.244 0.340 0.205 0.285 0.530 0.000 0.260 0.424 0.241

5705 3303 654 448 271 0 1275 1000 5732

0.241 0.290 0.026 0.264 0.482 0.000 0.254 0.413 0.183

0.00182 0.00428 0.00374 0.00328 0.00155 0.00117 0.00236 0.01337 0.00814

11.5 11 11.5 9 11 9 9 11 9

18 25 9 23 8 21 16

0.0822 0.0434 0.0682 0.0593 0.0484 0.0719 0.0143

0.6001 0.3194 0.5028 0.4384 0.3544 0.5253 0.1054

0.0859 0.0793 0.0700 0.0680 0.0819 0.0859 0.0850

0.6272 0.5789 0.5159 0.5020 0.5994 0.6272 0.6205

1644 989 8712 8197 18630 4724 85960

936 786 2684 3885 5150 1616 28096

0.569 0.795 0.308 0.474 0.276 0.342 0.327

890 390 2607 3383 2954 1352 4562

0.541 0.394 0.299 0.413 0.159 0.286 0.053

0.00290 0.00124 0.00896 0.00200 0.01774 0.00265 0.00235

11 11 11 9 9 10 7

41 14 22 4 7 36 2 31

0.0439 0.0665 0.0794 0.0693 0.0773 0.0654 0.0223 0.0822

0.3216 0.4874 0.5798 0.5087 0.5658 0.4780 0.1743 0.6004

0.0695 0.0811 0.0859 0.0766 0.0814 0.0852 0.0329 0.0855

0.5078 0.5937 0.6272 0.5623 0.5956 0.6223 0.2572 0.6240

55857 29990 1006 36674 14853 27294 97065 5695

12209 7671 632 10927 3204 6370 54675 2980

0.219 0.256 0.629 0.298 0.216 0.233 0.563 0.523

7118 6262 581 9828 3018 4766 36851 2867

0.127 0.209 0.578 0.268 0.203 0.175 0.380 0.503

0.00279 0.00507 0.00109 0.00760 0.00864 0.00145 0.00176 0.02575

9 9 11 11 11.5 10 10 9

110 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Pesticide use in the Region of Murcia, Spain

Months without precipitation (number)

Share of area_ perennial crops

Share of area_all crops

Area perennial crops

Share of water area

Area all crops

Municipality

Area total

haquper

hterper

haquall

hterall

ID

Lorca Lorqu Mazarrn Molina de Segura Moratalla Mula Murcia Ojs Pliego PuertoLumbreras Ricote San Javier San Pedro del Pinatar Santomera Torre-Pacheco Torres de Cotillas (Las) Totana Ulea Unin (La) Villanueva del Ro Segura Yecla Mean value

30 19 44 10

0.0301 0.0825 0.0313 0.0754

0.2210 0.6025 0.2293 0.5513

0.0775 0.0859 0.0859 0.0831

0.5683 0.6272 0.6272 0.6074

167893 1568 31968 17092

34465 878 5437 4300

0.205 0.560 0.170 0.252

11107 840 1356 3864

0.066 0.536 0.042 0.226

0.00518 0.00195 0.00362 0.00189

10 11 11.5 11

0.167 0.083 0.042 0.083

3 13 40 15 28 43

0.0468 0.0601 0.0718 0.0840 0.0853 0.0735

0.3422 0.4405 0.5244 0.6129 0.6227 0.5368

0.0853 0.0785 0.0859 0.0859 0.0858 0.0855

0.6232 0.5753 0.6269 0.6272 0.6268 0.6244

95108 63248 89547 4612 2928 14102

14791 18157 25078 1230 1388 5684

0.156 0.287 0.280 0.267 0.474 0.403

8078 13887 20808 1202 1378 4805

0.085 0.220 0.232 0.261 0.471 0.341

0.00329 0.00562 0.00189 0.00390 0.01058 0.00304

5 8 11 11 8 10

0.583 0.333 0.083 0.083 0.333 0.167

12 38 34

0.0762 0.0389 0.0411

0.5594 0.2850 0.3012

0.0763 0.0842 0.0811

0.5601 0.6149 0.5919

8708 7553 2239

2607 3377 839

0.299 0.447 0.375

2603 1234 338

0.299 0.163 0.151

0.00279 0.00013 0.00000

11 11 10

0.083 0.083 0.167

20 35 27

0.0782 0.0295 0.0783

0.5712 0.2168 0.5719

0.0856 0.0656 0.0856

0.6249 0.4793 0.6253

4396 18981 3853

1793 8759 1359

0.408 0.461 0.353

1620 2796 1234

0.369 0.147 0.320

0.05014 0.00038 0.00481

11 10 11

0.083 0.167 0.083

33 11 42 17

0.0323 0.0829 0.0275 0.0856

0.2414 0.6057 0.2024 0.6250

0.0550 0.0839 0.0692 0.0859

0.4106 0.6134 0.5050 0.6272

28787 4032 2568 1308

4335 1349 247 1021

0.151 0.335 0.096 0.780

2193 1330 77 1017

0.076 0.330 0.030 0.777

0.00252 0.00301 0.00131 0.00326

11 11 9 11

0.083 0.083 0.250 0.083

0.0262 0.0582

0.2061 0.4273

0.0306 0.0753

0.2413 0.5521

60400

25526

0.423

21728

0.360

0.00087

0.250

111

14

10

12

13

11

Figure 56 Figure 57

Unscaled summarized risk caused by pesticide use in all crops in the Region of Murcia Unscaled summarized risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops in the Region of Murcia

left right

Figure 58 Figure 59

Scaled terrestrial risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops in the Region of Murcia Scaled aquatic risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops in the Region of Murcia

left right

112 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Pesticide use in the Region of Murcia, Spain

Figure 60

Share of the area of perennial crops of the total area of municipality

Figure 61 Figure 62

Hydrological net of the Region of Murcia Scaled aquatic risk caused by pesticides in perennial crops

left right

Note: for the scaling factor water index only rivers (ro), streams (arroyo) and lakes were taken into consideration (Figure 61)

113

3.5 Eutrophication in Murcia

exceeds two Livestock Units per ha, and this group of holdings (8% of the total number of agricultural holdings in that region) supplies 91% of total livestock production. Figure 63: Animal density (livestock units per hectare utilised agricultural area) in Murcia at municipality level (Source: Centro regional de estadstica de Murcia, 1999; adaptation LEI). The pan-European livestock density map (Figure 13) already showed a livestock density (total livestock units per ha of utilized agricultural area) of 1.2 LU/ha for the region of Murcia. When looking at the livestock density in Murcia at municipality level (Figure 63) there are large differences between the different municipalities. In the northern part of Murcia livestock density is relatively low, while some of the municipalities in the southern part have a very high livestock density, up to 15 LU/ha in Torres de Cotillas. However this municipality keeps only 4% of the total regional livestock population. Two municipalities (Lorca and Fuente lamo) keep 40% of the total livestock population in Murcia, which for 75%

Figure 63

Animal density (livestock units per hectare

utilised agricultural area) in Murcia at municipality level

3.5.1 Database
The results on eutrophication in Murcia are based on information from the statistical office in Murcia (Centro regional de estadstica de Murcia, 2004). The territorial level of detail is the communities of Murcia. Both the statistics on total livestock units (Ganado, Unidades ganaderas: bovino, ovino, caprino, porcino, equino, aves de corral, conejas madres y otras) and utilised agricultural area (superficie agraria utilizada) are 1999 figures.

3.5.2 Method
The analysis of the eutrophication in Murcia is meant to test and validate the results of the risk assessment at the European scale (see Chapter 2). In addition it also tried to refine the pan-European results to more territorial detail, to get more insight in the regional distribution within Murcia. The pan-European results at the level of Murcia (from Chapter 2) are compared with results for Murcia and the municipalities in Murcia.
Source: Centro regional de estadstica de Murcia, 1999; adaptation LEI

3.5.3 Results and discussion


Livestock production is rather concentrated in the Region of Murcia. Stocking density on less than 10% of the holdings

114 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication in Murcia

consists of pigs. In these two municipalities the share of pigs in total livestock population even ranges from 80 to 90%. In general all municipalities with a relatively high livestock density mainly keep pigs (between 67 and 94% of the municipal livestock population). These pig holdings are managed in a very intensive, land independent, way. Since the pig sector in Murcia is growing very fast, risks for eutrophication can become (or already are) a serious problem in parts of this region.

115

3.6 Risks to biodiversity in Murcia

3.6.1 Introduction
The Region of Murcia is comparatively rich in biodiversity (Section 3.2.1). The region hosts some 356 species of terrestrial vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians) (Direccin General de Medio Natural (2004)). Figure 64 presents the distribution pattern of this species richness on a 10x10 km grid for the entire region. This map shows the highest species richness in the north-eastern part of the Region. The low values in the centre-left of the map are due to lack of data in these grid cells.

3.6.2 Method and results


In this case study for Murcia the same approach was used to identify biodiversity value and sensitivity. Breeding birds that are associated with agro-ecosystems were selected and their richness plotted on a map of the region. Three major land cover types have been selected to carry out the assessments: 1. dry or steppe grassland; 2. arable crops; 3. perennial crops. Both dry grasslands and arable crops have also been studied in the European assessments. The third type used at European level, wet grasslands, does not occur in Murcia. Instead perennial crops have been selected because of their

Figure 64

Richness of terrestrial vertebrate species in the Region of Murcia

Source: derived from Base de datos de los vertebrados espaoles 2003. Inventario Nacional de Biodiversidad

116 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Risks to biodiversity in Murcia

Table 36

Breeding bird species associated with selected land cover types for the Region of Murcia and their respective

impact scores for selected pressures

pollution on dry or steppe grassland

pollution on dry or steppe grassland

Impact scores from pesticide use on

Impact scores from pesticide use on

Impact scores from pesticide use on

Impact scores from nutrient

Impact scores from pesticide use on 1 0 2 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Impact scores from nutrient

perennial crops

arable crops

Bird species

Alauda arvensis Alectoris rufa Anthus campestris Athene noctua Bubulcus ibis Burhinus oedicnemus Calandrella brachydactyla Calandrella rufescens Caprimulgus ruficollis Carduelis cannabina Carduelis chloris Chersophilus duponti Circus pygargus Clamator glandarius Coracias garrulus Coturnix coturnix Emberiza hortulana Erithacus rubecula Falco naumanni Falco tinnunculus Fringilla coelebs Galerida cristata Galerida theklae Gelochelidon nilotica Hippolais pallida Jynx torquilla Source: Tucker & Evans, 1997

2 2 1?

0 0 0 0 ? 2

Lanius excubitor Lanius senator Lullula arborea Melanocorypha calandra Merops apiaster Miliaria calandra Muscicapa striata Oenanthe hispanica 2 1 1

0 0 0

0 0

0 ? 2? 0

0 ? 1 1 0 1 0 ? 2 1 0 ? 0 0? 0 1 2 0 0 x? 1 0 1

Oenanthe oenanthe Otis tarda Otus scops Passer hispaniolensis Phoenicurus phoenicurus Picus viridis Pterocles alchata Pterocles orientalis Saxicola torquata Sturnus unicolor Sylvia atricapilla Sylvia hortensis Sylvia melanocephala Tetrax tetrax Turdus merula Turdus philomelos Turdus viscivorus Tyto alba Upupa epops

? ?

0 0 ?

2?

117

perennial crops

arable crops

Bird species

Figure 65 Figure 66

Species richness of indicator breeding bird species for arable cropland, Region of Murcia, Spain Species richness of indicator bird species for dry grassland, Murcia, Spain

left right

Figure 67

Species richness of indicator bird species for perennial cropland, Murcia, Spain
Legend: Figure 65, 66, 67

Source: derived from Base de datos de los vertebrados espaoles 2003. Inventario Nacional de Biodiversidad

118 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Risks to biodiversity in Murcia

extent (Table 28) and the pressures from pesticide use that are associated with the intensive growth of oranges and lemons. The breeding bird species that are associated with these three land cover types are listed in Table 36. Figure 65 to 67 show the breeding bird diversity per selected agro-ecosystem on a 10x10 km grid. Again the north of Murcia shows in all three habitats the highest richness. In addition north-western areas show high richness values for dry grassland, perennial cropland, arable land and dry grassland areas of high values also have been located in the central southern parts and in the east. The Region of Murcia is a highly intensively used area in terms of agriculture. At the European level, Figure 17 illustrates for example that terrestrial pesticide risk is particularly high in southern Spain, including Murcia. Furthermore the conversion of grassland into cropland and perennial crops is happening at an accelerated pace over the last ten years throughout the entire region (Jorge Luis Enrquez Salgueiro, pers. comm.). Murcia in this respect represents the intensification of the agricultural use all over southern Spain. The threats to go with these changes in land use are multiple and not only refer to the destruction of habitats and landscapes, but also imply serious environmental changes in soil, water and the agricultural products themselves. The threat for biodiversity is difficult to measure. In part the information available is also ten years old and more. The projected threat by any pressure may be no less severe as the actual biodiversity no longer exists, as been noted in parts of central Murcia. Similar to the European approach threat scores for sensitivity to pressures from agriculture were used for the breeding birds associated with the selected agro-ecosystems. The summed threat scores per grid cell of 10x10 km have been plotted on a map of the region. Table 36 presents the respective threat scores per breeding bird species per selected agricultural pressure (pesticide use and livestock density) per agro-ecosystem. Figure 68 shows the integration of breeding bird diversity and sensitivity with the risk by pesticides on arable and Figure 69 on perennial croplands. Biodiversity on arable land is much less affected, but eastern parts appear to be most at risk. The areas with high risk values for perennial crops in relation to pesticide use occur in the central part around the city of Murcia and in the western part. This is obviously due to the high richness of breeding bird species associated with perennial crops in combination with high pesticide use (Figure 58 and 59).

Figure 70 shows the risk to breeding bird diversity on dry grassland from livestock density. This value not only reflects the density of animals and its associated grazing pressure on ground nesting birds, but also the increase in application of manure and fertilizers, which contribute to the high values of nutrient enrichment, particularly threatening many plants but also most bird species. The map shows higher values in the southern part of the region with values in the west and extreme east the highest.

3.6.3 Interpretation of results


The results presented in the previous paragraphs illustrate how the European results, by applying the same approach, can be refined. Using species distribution data at a 10x10 km resolution instead of 50x50 km allows for a stronger relationship with agro-ecosystems studied. The only proper comparison between Europe and Murcia is for the combination of pesticide use and biodiversity on arable land, because the other combinations have not been repeated in the same way. The European map (Figure 32) shows that the Region of Murcia is characterized by low risk values. This is explained by low shares of arable land, low richness in species associated with arable land and relatively low terrestrial pesticide risks when compared to other parts of Europe. When zooming in to the map for Murcia (Figure 68) a differentiation is made between generally low risk levels and some medium/high risk cells in the east and near the Mar Menor.

119

Figure 68 Figure 69

Zones in Murcia with risk from pesticide use to richness of breeding birds on arable land Zones in Murcia with risk from pesticide use to richness of breeding birds on perennial crops

left right

Figure 70

Zones in Murcia with risk from livestock density to richness of breeding birds on dry grassland

Source: derived from Base de datos de los vertebrados espaoles 2003. Inventario Nacional de Biodiversidad

120 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Risks to biodiversity in Murcia / Landscape risks

3.7 Landscape risks in Murcia

The traditional landscape is threatened from two fronts. From the coast, tourist urbanizations are spreading and from the inner land, agriculture is expanding. Much of the intensive agriculture uses polytunnels. The process started in the 1960s in Almera, where it was discovered that the tomato yield (and season) could be extended by shoveling a thin layer of sand over the soil and covering plastic with it. This improved ground humidity, micro-thermals and resistance to salinity. Farmers using water from underground aquifers were successful with this intensive market-gardening technique. Traditional slowgrowing dry agriculture was abandoned in favour of all-yearround profits. The polytunnel technique exploits the naturally limited water resources, changes the original landscape scenery and requires annual maintenance and renewal services, creating a major problem of disposal and illegal burns of plastic materials producing excess toxic air and water pollution. As the fertile areas around the river and coast are reserved for tourism, the intensification of agriculture has moved towards the inland where water is even scarcer. Exploiting underground water increases its salt content and leads to a reduction of soil fertility. The rapid economical changes of the last decades brought about various forms of landscape changes that have been

3.7.1 The backgrounds of changes in landscape diversity in the southeast of Spain


Much of Spains southeast region around Murcia and Almera is undergoing substantial landscape changes. Compared to 20 years ago when this region was extremely poor it now contributes 15% of the national income (Coward, 2001). The economic growth of the last years is strongly linked to the increase of industrial agriculture marked by all-year-round production cycles that are very different from the traditional Spanish vegetable farming. The very large intensification of agriculture has been accompanied by new urban and infrastructural developments all of which thriving upon and exploiting the Regions environmental capital, among which the impacts on water resources have left clear traces on the appearance of the landscapes. One key factor of industrial agriculture is the increase of water consumption, impacting on regional water resources: from 1997 to 1999 the irrigated surface area of the region has expanded from 40 to 44%; during the last 10 years urbanization has decreased Murcias agricultural land use by about ten per cent.

critically addressed by local authorities, residents as well as visitors: Nonetheless, you cant fail to notice the amount of development going on. The coastal strip bristles with cranes, and the interior is covered with those typically Spanish urbanizations, in which the lampposts, roads and concrete bases appear long before the houses themselves. Much of the area is simply unattractive the permanent building site along the coast; the fields covered with plastic sheeting known as polytunnels; the shacks housing immigrants who work on the farms; and the rigid rows of tiny orange trees, their roots watered by the endless miles of black pipes which snake across the sandy soil as Ros Coward observed in his article for The Guardian in 2001.

3.7.2 Landscape types in Murcia


Following the above, an analysis of the state and trends of landscapes that can be encountered in the Murcia region promises to provide some interesting points of references. The question is, whether and how do the landscape ecological and structural assessments developed for the EnRisk project allow capturing the type of changes that are relevant for the policy world and the public in this part of Spain. Obviously, agricultural intensification has major impacts on land use and

in Murcia

121

Figure 71

Spanish landscape types for the Murcia region

Source: Mata Olmo et al, 2003

on landscape attributes such as diversity, coherence and openness/closedness all of which are elements of the EnRisk landscape approach. Though data on Mediterranean landscapes is in general rather limited, Spain has recently completed the most comprehensive landscape atlas and cartographic assessment in the whole of Europe. Commissioned by the Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, the Universidad Autonom de Madrid has produced a new landscape atlas (Mata Olmo et al., 2003), presenting 116 major landscape types and a total of 1263 distinct landscape units (paisajes). For the Murcia region, the Spanish landscape atlas differentiates 12 main landscape types and about 35 landscape units (Figure 71). At the European level, the classification recognizes about six main landscape types, spanning from the mountain landscapes of the interior to the alluvial hills along the riparian corridors and the coastal lowlands (Mcher et al., in press).

vegetation) data like in the case of the Green Heart (Section 3.11) study was not present. Therefore it was also not possible to assess landscape changes and the effects on landscape diversity. With the Corine 2000 data for Spain now ready, more updated results can be calculated. The calculation method and reclassification into diversity classes is the same as the method used for the European landscape map as described in Section 2.5.5. In this case study the new Spanish landscape map has been used to refine the regions which will be vulnerable for changes affecting landscape diversity. With regard to Shannon Diversity (Figure 73), the Murcia region scores in general relatively high: both the European as well as the national assessment show high and very high structural diversity throughout most of the area, mainly located on higher elevations. Along the riparian corridors which are segmented in a slightly different way in the Spanish landscape classification landscape diversity is low, probably related to the extensive coverage of irrigated citrus tree plantations. The increasing landscape uniformity, the massive water demands and the type of changes in the landscape scenery must be considered as the main risk for

3.7.3 Landscape diversity and vulnerability


Despite the availability of a wide range of data sets for the Murcia region, similar updated or more detailed land use (or

122 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Landscape risks in Murcia

Figure 72

Landscape units in Murcia region on the basis of the European Landscape Map

Source: Mcher et al., in press

landscape diversity. The natural/traditional Mediterranean landscape is far more diverse than the recently generated intensive agricultural and built up areas. The analysis of the regions intrinsic diversity (Figure 74) based on Corine land cover types demonstrates some clear differences with the structural diversity as identified by the Shannon index. Data used for this calculation is Corine data from a period before the major changes took place (ca. 19901995). The European data indicates larger proportions of low intrinsic diversity areas in north-eastern part of Murcia which is probably due to the more prominent role of land cover data in the European classification resulting in more homogenous units with the same landscape diversity scores. The Spanish data is based on more geo-morphological and bio-physical divisions in the land in which differences in land cover are aggregated and hence level out to more medium ranges. In terms of landscape types, these low diversity vulnerability zones are the Sierras bticas in mountain zones with calcareous rocks and heterogeneous agriculture. The absolute value differences between low and non-specific diversity are small (in north-eastern part of the region in both maps), but due to the threshold values they are reclassified into different classes. This points at an interesting application potential for the European data: the European identification of high and low landscape diversity appears to complement at least in this case national assessments. In other regions of Murcia, both maps show similar, namely average or non-specific

intrinsic diversity for most of the north and east. The identification of landscape diversity vulnerability (Figure 75) which essentially represents the coincidence of structural with intrinsic diversity, shows also reasonable resemblances between both assessments. In both cases, regions of high and very high vulnerability due to high diversity scores are dominating the south-eastern coast and eastern zones both sides of Rio Segura. In both maps, areas of low diversity are identified along the bay areas of Mar Menor, near Cieza and in the very northern province border near La Alequeria. Also the European vulnerability map highlights low diversity zones towards the central-western region of Murcia. Interesting is that one of the Vegas del Segura landscape north-west of Murcia is a very low-diversity vulnerable area that is only being captured by the Spanish landscape assessment. A comparison with the Murcia land cover data shows that most low diversity vulnerability zones are located on permanently irrigated lands. This demonstrates, that the vulnerability assessment must in fact be interpreted very carefully: in the case of the irrigated land, vulnerability should be seen as an already existing strong land use impact that has changed the character of the land substantially and not as a high value area that is vulnerable against impacts, but quite the contrary. In the case of the very vulnerable landscape zones that have high diversity indeed a larger mix of different land uses is encountered, frequently interwoven with natural landscape types such as natural grasslands and forests. The overview on existing Natura 2000 conservation sites

123

Figure 73

Shannon diversity European (left) and Spanish (right) landscape maps

Figure 74

Intrinsic diversity European (left) and Spanish (right) landscape maps

124 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Landscape risks in Murcia

Figure 75

Vulnerability of diversity European (l) and Spanish (r) landscape maps

Figure 76

Natura 2000 sites in Murcia and land cover

(Figure 76) shows that it is difficult to identify a reasonable pattern that can be related to diversity scores. Clear is that the low diversity areas on irrigated land are not designated, while mountainous regions with mixed agriculture are more frequently protected. The resulting landscape vulnerability (Figure 75) between the European and Spanish landscape maps shows the same pattern, with exception for the north-eastern part of the region. Despite of the absolute value differences in this part of the region being small, it can be an indication for these areas being on the edge of vulnerability. This is indicating that small differences in change of land cover distribution and type can lead to relatively big differences in landscape diversity.

125

3.8 Soil erosion risks in the Ybbs river basin, Austria and the Zala river basin, Hungary

Table 37

Characteristics of the Ybbs and Zala river

basins study areas (average)


Parameter Basin Area [km] Precipitation [mm/a] Slope [%] Share of arable land [%] Forest [%] Population density [Inh./km] River discharge [m/s] Overland flow [%] Sediment load [kg/ha/a] Ybbs 1117 1300 31 16 52 68 32,7 29 610 Zala 1528 740 3,15 54 34 82 4,32 16 212

agricultural land in the northern parts. The entire river basin is covered to 52% by forest, followed by grassland or meadows (32%) and arable areas (12%) (Table 37 and Figure 77). Corn and wheat dominate on arable land. Almost 30% of 33 m/sec river discharge is overland flow and therefore also responsible for soil erosion and transportation of the eroded material. The Zala river basin is situated in a hilly region in the west of Hungary. It belongs to the Pannonian climate region and has

3.8.1 The case study areas


Whereas Murcia is located in an area, where the European soil erosion map predicts high values for soil loss, the Ybbs and Zala case studies are located in zones where erosion may be expected to be comparably lower. Both case study areas are drainage basins of tributaries to the river Danube. Furthermore the Zala river is the main influent of the Lake Balaton. The Ybbs river basin belongs to the northern limestone preAlpine area of Austria. The studied part of the watershed has an extension of 1117 km, which is about 10% of the Murcia case study area. Elevation ranges between 250 m and 1800 m above see level with very steep slopes and narrow valleys in the southern Alpine area and almost flat or hilly areas downstream in the north. Climatic conditions vary accordingly with a mean annual precipitation of 2000 mm in the north and 500 mm in the south. In general the water balance is characterized by wet conditions. Land use follows the pattern of precipitation with almost only forested land and grassland in the alpine area and intensively used

an annual precipitation of 740 mm and an evapotranspiration of about 600 mm/a. The case study area has an extension of 1528 km, which is about 60% of the total catchment area. The elevation in the basin ranges from 100 to 300 m above see level with moderate slopes of about 3.2%. Correspondingly the majority of the area is agricultural land, in particular arable land, which covers 54% of the total area (Table 37 and Figure 77). Arable land is mainly used for root crops. Permanent crops play only a minor role with just 1% of the total area. Forests are relatively important since they cover approximately one third of the area. The dominant physical soil type is a loam soil, which developed on loess sediments or on glacial loam sediments, and which is prone to soil erosion. The average discharge value at the basin outlet is 4.32 m/s, 16% is overland flow.

3.8.2 Data and models used in the case study areas


The erosion within the two case studies areas Zala (Strauss et al., 2003) and Ybbs (Wolkerstorfer & Strauss, 2004) were

126 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Soil erosion risks in the Ybbs river basin, Austria and

Figure 77

Land cover distribution in the Zala (left) and the Ybbs basin (right).

Note: data in the Zala basin were taken out of Corine. For the Ybbs basin satellite images were used to characterize land cover

estimated within the EU Project daNUbs (Nutrient Management of the Danube Basin and its impact on the Black Sea; Institute for Land and Water Management Research, 2003). Local scientists validated the calculated erosion data. Additionally calibrations of the models for the case studies were carried out for the water balance of the regions and for the sediment loads of the rivers. Both case studies used different models to assess erosion. Erosion rates in the Ybbs basin were modelled using the Morgan Morgan Finney (MMF) erosion model (Morgan, 2001) incorporated in the GIS PCRaster (Wolkerstorfer, 2002). For the Zala basin the model MUSLE (Williams & Berndt, 1977) was used. This approach is also integrated into a GIS and therefore called SWAT (Soil & Water Assessment Tool; Arnold et al., 1998). USLE and MUSLE are roughly similar, solely the

climatic factor is used in a different way. MUSLE was developed by replacing the rainfall energy factor of the USLE with a surface runoff energy factor (Williams, 1982) and a peak runoff rate. In addition the temporal resolution of the calculation is daily, whereas the USLE is based on long-term annual means. The MMF approach, however, differs widely from the USLE because of its structure and the factors it uses as the basic relationships of erosion and runoff are described by a series of mathematical equations. In general the model separates the erosion process into two: the water phase and the erosion phase. The eroded material is compared to the transport capacity of the runoff. Table 38 gives an overview of the differences between the three models. Additionally different methods of spatial disagreggation are used according to the model. The USLE and likewise the MMF

the Zala river basin, Hungary

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Table 38

Comparison of the USLE, SWAT and MMF models as used in the project
USLE empirical raster cells 1 km not taken into account SWAT empirical sub basins 15 km curve number (Mockus, 1972) MMF physical and empirical raster cells 625 m daily rainfall exceeds soil moisture storage capacity (Kirkby, 1976)

Processes and key factors Model characteristic Spatial aggregation Surface runoff

Connection between spatial units

not taken into account

not taken into account

flow method of steepest ascend (Jenson & Domingue, 1988)

model use a regular grid. Parameter input values and soil loss are calculated for each grid cell. For SWAT the drainage basin is divided into sub-basins or into classes of sub-areas that are assumed to be homogenous in their hydrological response. For each sub-basin the dominant land use and soil class are used as a unique and homogenous value leading to a single result for each sub-basin. Whereas for SWAT and USLE no connectivity between the spatial units is assumed, the MMF grid results are routed according to the topographic structure using the method of the steepest ascend (Jenson & Domingue, 1988). For matters of comparison the results of the case studies were transformed to the 1x1 km and 50x50 km grid used for the European assessment.

Figure 78

Average soil loss in the three case study

areas (t ha-1 year-1). Comparison of the European USLE assessment and the different case study approaches

3.8.3 Validation and comparison of the European approach


At the river basin scale results from the European assessment agree well with the average soil loss calculated from the original case study data. Mean soil loss is below 1 t ha year in both river basins. Both assessments (European
-1 -1

to the case study results (Figure 80). The type of statistics used for aggregation (calculating percentiles for different types of land use) yields fairly similar results from both data sets. A correlation of the 90 percentiles from the 50x50 km grid cells of all case studies calculated from the land use types arable, grassland and permanent crops gives r = 0.7. Absolute values, however, are generally twice as high in the case studies than in the European map (in a few cases from Murcia even higher). The reason for this seems to be the different resolution of the elevation model as demonstrated in Figure 81. At the 1x1 km level, however, the correlation between the European map and the case study results from Ybbs and Zala is generally very poor. A somehow better congruence may be observed in the Ybbs basin, where areas of elevated soil loss show up in the southern and the northern border. Whereas in the south steeper slopes are the main reason for soil erosion from grassland, intensive agriculture in the north promotes

and case study) show a tendency for higher values in the Ybbs basin than in the Zala basin. For a relative comparison of river basins at a European scale results from the European erosion assessment seem therefore sufficiently accurate (Figure 78). Values aggregated to the 50x50 km resolution agree reasonably well, too, although no entire grid cell was covered by the case studies of Ybbs and Zala. Nevertheless areas of high and low erosion are equally indicated at a relative scale, as the example for the 90 percentiles from the Ybbs catchment demonstrates in Figure 79. A comparison of the 50x50 km grid cells from all three case studies shows that on an aggregated level the European soil erosion indicates areas of high and low erosion reasonably well as compared

128 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Soil erosion risks in the Ybbs river basin, Austria and

Figure 79

90 percentile of soil erosion for the Ybbs basin. Left: MMF model results aggregated from a 25x25 m

to the 50x50 km EnRisk grid. Right: USLE results (van der Knijff) aggregated from a 1x1 km to the 50x50 km EnRisk grid

Figure 80

90 percentile for soil loss (t ha-1 year-1) from all 50x50 km grids according to land use

Note: agric: agricultural land; ara: arable; per: perennial crops; past: pastures

the Zala river basin, Hungary

129

Figure 81

Changing of soil loss depending on grid resolution for all sub-basins in the Ybbs River basin

Note: bars indicate the variability of change

erosion, because heavy rainshowers in the summer and autumn meet arable fields, which are mostly bare at that time of the year. Lack of correlation at the 1x1 km level may be attributed to several reasons. Maybe the most important is the different resolution of the digital elevation model, which was 25x25 m in the Ybbs (and Murcia) case study, 50x50 m in the Zala case study but 1x1 km for van der Knijffs European assessment. A coarser resolution does not only lead to a lower accuracy of the results but also introduces a systematic error, where steepness is underestimated at a coarser resolution. Therefore soil loss is generally lower at the European soil map than at the case studies. Figure 81 gives an example, how the grid size flattens the landscape and consequently reduces soil erosion, which was calculated for the Ybbs basin with the MMF model (Institute for Land and Water Management Research, 2003). For rainfall differences between the European assessment and the case study have mainly to be attributed to the fact, that climatic data were available at a much finer spatial

resolution for the case study. For the Ybbs case study data from 16 climatic stations in or closely to the basin were used, whereas the European assessment relies entirely on interpolated data for that region. Although this contributes to the total error of results, the calculation of the R-factor (rainfall) seems to be a smaller problem as compared to the elevation model (Figure 82). A direct comparison of plant cover factors between the different models is not possible as they are used in different ways. Another reason for lack of correlation is specific for the SWAT model used in the Zala case study. SWAT in the first place calculates the sediment input into river systems. The eroded material can be quantified using a sediment delivery ratio (SDR; the proportion of sediment yield in a watershed as calculated by SWAT to gross erosion in the entire watershed; Ouyang & Bartholic, 1997). Due to the fact that there is no precise procedure to estimate SDR (USDA SGS, 1972) several different SDRs were tried (Vanoni, 1975; Bolten & Dency, 1976; Williams & Berndt, 1976; 1977) but did not deliver satisfactory results. Hairston (1995) recommends a

130 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Soil erosion risks in the Ybbs river basin, Austria and

Figure 82

Comparison of the R-Factor calculated by the USLE Europeanapproach and the mean rain per year as used

in the MMF model

sediment delivery ratio for agricultural watersheds of 25% +/- 15%, depending on the size of the watershed. Steward (1978) made a similar suggestion. According to him an SDR of 20% should be used for a sub basin size of approximately 15 km. This value was applied to the Zala case study.

3.8.4 Validation by others


Van der Knijffs et al. (2000) European USLE approach has already been validated by van Rompaey et al. (2003), together with further European erosion assessments (INRA, PESERA, Section 2.1.1). Results were compared to case studies from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Spain and Italy. The accuracy of the different European soil erosion maps was checked by the sedimentation into lakes and reservoirs. For agricultural areas in central Belgium and the Czech Republic it could be demonstrated that the European USLE model delivers a fairly correct pattern of soil erosion within a catchment on a relative scale, absolute values, however, were not predicted correctly. For Italy results were generally poor. Pearsons correlation coefficients ranged between 0.01 for Italy and 0.59 for the Czech catchments.

the Zala river basin, Hungary

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3.9 Parcel-level pesticide risks in Lamspringe county Hildesheim, Germany

temperature of 8.5 C and the yearly precipitation is 787 mm. The fields have a slope of 515% to the stream Lamme. The fields are drained according to the numbers in the catchment scheme (Figure 83).

3.9.3 Data and method


The farmer recorded the pesticide use data. Each record contains the following information: field and crop; application time; growth stage of the plants; treated area if only a part of the field was treated; pesticide and dose rate. A field sprayer with vertical air blast support and nuzzle-type 8004 XR was used as application technique. To measure pesticide concentrations two water sampling procedures were conducted: an hourly sampling by means of an automatically working sampler and an event-controlled sampling when a certain limit of water depth gauge of the stream Lamme was exceeded after rain showers. The water of the hourly samples was aggregated to a mixed week sample of three litres. The Institute for Ecological Chemistry in Berlin carried out the pesticide residue analyses. Details of the method can be found in Pestemer et al. (2001). To investigate possible effects on aquatic organisms the abundance of algae (about 50 Diatomeae- species) and the zoobenthon (about 25 families with 59 species) was monthly

3.9.1 Background
In 19951999 an R&D-project was conducted to measure exposure and effects of pesticides in the aquatic environment caused by practical use of pesticides in arable crops. The investigations were carried out by the BBA and the plant protection services of Lower Saxony, Sachsen-Anhalt, and Baden-Wrttemberg in very small stream catchments. For that case study data were collected for the site Lamspringe in county Hildesheim by the BBA-Institute for Ecological Chemistry and Ecotoxicology in Plant Protection, Berlin and Kleinmachnow.

measured on two sites of the stream Lamme. All biological investigations were done by the Institute for Ecotoxicology in Plant Protection in Kleinmachnow and Berlin. More details are provided in Becker (2001). The study serves also to compare calculated risk indices with measurement in the aquatic environment. For this purpose the risk assessment model SYNOPS as already described in Section 2.3.2 was applied. On this very fine scale more detailed results of SYNOPS-calculations could be used like concentration curves over time of particular pesticides.

3.9.2 Characterization of investigation site


The headwaters of the little stream Lamme are located in a small and closed catchment area of intensive agricultural use. The size of the catchment basin is 109 hectare and it consists of eight fields (Figure 83). One farmer manages the eight fields. During the investigation period he has grown winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beets, and rape. The region has a yearly long-term average of

3.9.4 Results and discussion Pesticide use


In Table A4 (Annex) the summarized use data of Lamspringe are given in comparison with the German results from the ECPA study as used for the European level. It can be noticed that the pesticide used in Lamspringe also occur in the ECPA study (CEC, 2002e) with some few exceptions: Mefenpyr in wheat, Trinexapac in barley, Chlormequat in rape and Chloridazone in sugar beets.

132 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Parcel-level pesticide risks in Lamspringe county

Figure 83

The Lamme catchment basin

The averages (over years) of application rates are not directly comparable since on the German level it is related to the whole area of the particular crop whereas on the local level of Lamspringe it is related only to the crop area where the pesticide is applied.

Comparison of the calculated exposure by SYNOPS with measured concentrations


To answer the question on how the SYNOPS model reflects the realistic exposure situation caused by agricultural practice the model was fed with the pesticide use data of the fields in the Lamme catchments. To stay compatible with the EnRisk approach on the European level the same default model parameters for slope, soil, precipitation, temperature etc. were used. As example, the most detected pesticide Isoproturon (IPU) is chosen. It is a compound with a high solubility in water. It is used in cereals in autumn or early spring on bare or nearly bare soil. In our considered situation in the Lamme catchment the most important exposure paths are the entry via drainage and via run off after heavy rain showers, respectively. The drainage path is not directly modelled in SYNOPS. But both paths are driven by the concentration of the substance in soil. So the calculated concentration in soil should give a hint on the concentration in the stream with a certain time delay depending on solubility when the main entry via drainage is taken into consideration. The fields 14 (Figure 83) were considered, which are directly adjacent to the stream. Their application pattern is given in Table 39.

Pesticide concentrations
Table A5 (Annex) shows results of the pesticide concentration measurements from the mixed week samples in 19951999. The most detected compounds are the herbicides Isoproturon (39% positive samples), Cloridazone (26%), Ethofumesat (18%), and Metamitron (10%). Isoproturon is applied in cereals, the last three in sugar beets on bare soil. The fifth column in Table A6 (Annex) gives the maximum concentration that was measured within the five years. In the last columns one can find the highest toxicity values of the test species (Daphnia, algae, fish). Only in the case of Isoproturon the maximum concentration exceeds the No Observed Effect Concentration (NOEC) endpoint where a negative effect on water organisms could theoretically be possible. The highest concentrations of pesticides in the stream Lamme were measured after heavy rain showers. Table A6 gives these results as obtained by the event-controlled day samplers. Here two compounds (Isoproturon, Dimefuron) exceed toxicity thresholds.

Hildesheim, Germany

133

Table 39

Application pattern of IPU of the four fields directly adjacent to stream Lamme
1995 1996 Autumn X X X X Spring X Autumn X X Spring 1997 Autumn X Spring X X 1998 Autumn X X X X

Field 1 2 3 4

Spring -

Figure 84

Comparison of the measured concentration in the stream with the concentrations in soil of the four fields

adjacent to the stream as calculated by SYNOPS

Figure 84 shows the calculated concentrations of IPU in soil in comparison with the measurements of IPU in the stream. It becomes obvious that a peak of soil-concentration in one or more fields is followed by detections of IPU in the Lamme water (mixed week samples) with a certain delay. The maximum concentration was reached in autumn 1998 caused

by the application of IPU on all four fields. There have been the same applications in autumn 1995 but the level of measured concentration in the stream is much lower. An explanation for this difference can be found by looking on the distribution of precipitation (Figure 85). The amount of rain is much higher in autumn 1998 than in 1995 and a very strong rain shower

134 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Parcel-level pesticide risks in Lamspringe county

Figure 85

Distribution of precipitation in the Lamme catchments in 1995-1999

Table 40

Number of Diatomaea species found in stream Lamme


Year Lamme upstream Average 1996 1997 1998 1999 1996 - 1999 32.6 30.4 28.7 28,2 30.0 Min / Max 29 42 21 39 15 48 23 34 15 - 48 Lamme downstream Average 28.7 33.0 33.4 39.4 33.6 Min / Max 22 37 23 44 20 44 36 42 20 - 44

Source: Becker, 2001

happened in 1998 with more than 50 litres per day. So not only a stronger drainage flow contributed to the concentration peak in water but also a considerable run off event.

cleared out by the run-off water masses. After that event the dominant species declined and the sub-dominant species increased. This is also reflected in Table 40 where in 1998 the lowest minimum and the highest variation of the number of species have been measured. But no detected species disappeared and no new appeared in the whole investigation period. Although in a few cases the toxicity endpoints were exceeded (compare Table A5 and A6, respectively) no direct effects could be measured on species spectrum or on their abundance or biomass growth.

Biological effects
Table 40 shows minimum, maximum and average of the number of Diatomaea species that were found during the investigation period in the stream. The most serious change in the abundance was measured in 1998 after the already mentioned heavy rain shower with soil erosion from the fields. But also the water sediment in the stream was nearly

Hildesheim, Germany

135

Also the active monitoring, where the green algae Scenedesmus subspicatus was exposed with contaminated water samples of the stream Lamme in the laboratory, did not show any effects on cell growth of that species.

3.9.5 Summarizing conclusions


The pesticides used in the fields of the small stream catchment region Lamme are comparable with the data of the ECPA survey on national level in Germany. The Lamme catchment belongs to the German county Hildesheim. 90% of the area of that county is covered by one GRID50-cell on European scale of EnRisk. The aquatic risk of that GRID50-cell caused by pesticide use in arable crops is classified as to be low medium. Considering real cases like the pesticide application practice in the Lamme region this classification means: pesticides can be detected in surface water bodies even when the farmer cares for good agricultural practice; only very few measured concentrations in a five-year period exceed theoretical toxicological endpoints obtained from standardized laboratory test; biological effects can not be detected neither by monitoring the concerning aquatic ecosystem nor by active laboratory test with the contaminated natural surface water. The model SYNOPS is a suitable tool to assess environmental pesticide risks. The absolute values calculated by SYNOPS should not be interpreted; only the relative differences of these risk indices between regions and crops etc. provide a figure of risk. In regions where the entry path into surface water via drainflow plays an important role the calculated concentration in soil has also to be interpreted for drain flow and not only for run off. So the assessment model SYNOPS needs to be enhanced regarding to that entry path.

136 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Parcel-level pesticide risks in Lamspringe county

3.10 Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

separated by shallow sills, which obstruct efficient water exchange (Baltic Sea Environment, 2004). As a result, the mean residence time of water in the Baltic is 27 years. The Baltic Sea is an ecologically unique brackish-water, marine area with a variety of special marine and coastal environments. It is characterized by naturally unfavourable conditions that makes it sensitive to the impact of pollutants from agriculture control and detrimental effects of deliberate human activities on land and at sea. It is physically dominated by the freshwater input of rivers and precipitation on the one hand, and by the limited inflow of more saline water over the shallow entrances to the North Sea on the other (oxygen-rich water of high density). Wet seasons, with flooding and much land run-off, will result in an increased input of nutrients and organic matter into the sea, with clear effects on algal growth and other environmental factors. Consequently, the Baltic is an efficient trap for nutrients and contaminants (MARE, 2004). Eutrophication is considered to be the most serious environmental problem in the Baltic Sea today (EEA, 2002). Eutrophication is caused when excess of nutrients principally nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are released into the water body. When the input of N and P nutrients increases greatly, the ecosystem of the water changes. Generally, there is: decreased transparency and increased turbidity of the

This case study describes the general eutrophication problems of the Baltic Sea, the sources of pollutants, the specific role of agriculture in the input of nutrients to the Baltic Sea and the subsequent impact on biodiversity. Finally, it looks at current policy objectives with a view to improvement of the eutrophication problem caused by agriculture in the region.

water as a direct result of the production and abundance of phytoplankton; depletion of oxygen and increasing anoxic deep water due to biodegradation of sedimented algae; and alterations in the biodiversity of the waters. In general, Baltic seawater nutrient concentrations are higher today than fifty years ago when uncontrolled point source pollution was at its height (EEA, 2001b).

3.10.1 The characteristics of the Baltic Sea and eutrophication


The Baltic Sea is an inland sea surrounded by the nine states of Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. However, it also receives surface water drainage from five other countries (Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Norway and Ukraine). There are over 85 million people within the total catchments area. The total area of the Baltic Sea is about 370,000 km, and its volume about 21,000 km. Despite its size, it is relatively shallow with a mean depth of only 55 m and a maximum depth of 459 m. It is connected to the North Sea only through narrow and shallow sounds between Denmark and Sweden. The outlet consists of a series of basins

3.10.2 Loading of nitrogen and phosphorus as a result of agricultural practices


Agriculture is the largest anthropogenic source of nutrient input to the Baltic Sea. Agricultural land, including arable land and permanent pastures, constitutes 26% of the Baltic Sea drainage area. Poland is the country in the drainage area basin with the largest area of arable land, being 41%, followed by Lithuania 9% and Russia 8%. Belarus has, in spite of its distance from the Baltic Sea, surprisingly about the same share (7%) of the arable land in the drainage basin as Sweden (Baltic 21, 2004). A large part (60-70%) of the territory in

Hildesheim, Germany / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

137

Table 41
Country

Nitrogen fertilizer usage by country in the late 1980s and 1995


N Fertilizers (t/y) late 1980s N Fertilizers (t/y) 1995 436,500 43,000 258,320 258,100 47,324 146,956 1,897,900 48,940 238,000 3,377,035 7 74 22 39 84 70 26 91 13 39 Reduction (%)

Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia Sweden Total

467,990 163,900 329,504 422,300 290,740 495,456 2,550,000 526,850 273,000 5,521,720

Source: Finnish Environment Institute, 2002

Germany, Denmark and Poland is agricultural land. The river load accounts for 86% of the nitrogen and 73% of phosphorus. These derive mainly from point sources and diffuse loading from farmland within their catchments areas. The rivers Oder (PL), Neva (RU), Vistula (PL), Daugava (LV) and the Nemunas (LT) account for nearly half of all nitrogen entering the Baltic Sea (Baltic Sea Environment, 2004). Agricultural intensification and land use changes in the area surrounding the Baltic Sea in the second half of the 20th century have led to a large increase in the use of nitrogen and phosphorus-containing fertilizers (Sweitzer et al., 1996). Current agricultural activities use excessive amounts of fertilizers and manure on the land, improper farming practices generate excess nitrogen and phosphorus and farmers are not managing their wastes correctly. The most important pollution sources related to agriculture are leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus from arable land and from inappropriate storage of manure and atmospheric emissions of ammonia from manure. On average, agriculture is estimated to account for 60% of nitrogen load and more than 25% of the phosphorus load within the total catchments area (helcom, 2001). Present agricultural activities within the Baltic Sea drainage area account for about 200,000 tons of nitrogen, and 5,000 tons of phosphorus entering the Baltic Sea each year. This corresponds to 30-40% of the total nitrogen and 10% of the total phosphorus reaching the Sea.

One of the main, and also most complex, environmental problems is to control the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus from this single source.

Nitrogen fertilizers
In the late 1980s, the consumption of nitrogen fertilizers from all the countries around the Baltic Sea was on average 5,520,000 tonnes/year (Table 41). Of the fertilizer that is applied to farmland, about 10% of it leaches into the rivers and other waterways and is carried to the Baltic Sea. This means that the nitrogen loading from agriculture into coastal waters was some 566,000 tonnes/ year (Table 42). Due largely to the economic situation in the acceding states during transition, fertilizer nitrogen usage dropped by almost 40% by 1995 with around 350,000 tonnes/year leaching into the Sea, still unacceptably high (Table 42). Poland was the country that contributed the major amount of nitrogen load to coastal waters, 94,600 tonnes/year. In Denmark and Sweden the corresponding value was around 50,000 tonnes/year. Finland and Lithuania leached ca. 36,000 tonnes annually and Russia and Germany around 25,000 tonnes. The least amount of nitrogen load to coastal waters was coming from Latvia and Estonia, discharging 17,100 and 12,600 tonnes/year respectively (Table 42). A number of factors have been identified as particularly

138 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

Table 42

Nitrogen discharges from agriculture by country in the late 1980s and 1995
Late 1980s 1995 Leaching (%) 17 18 14 8 12 12 5 16 24 10 Fertilizers (t/y) 436,500 43,000 258,320 258,100 47,324 146,956 1,897,900 48,940 238,000 3,375,040 Leaching (t/y) 53,800 12,600 37,000 26,100 17,100 35,500 94,600 24,000 48,200 348,900 Leaching (%) 12 29 14 10 36 24 5 49 20 10

Country

Fertilizers (t/y)

Leaching (t/y) 79,000 30,200 45,500 35,200 33,800 59,500 135,100 82,700 65,100 566,100

Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia Sweden Grand Total

467,990 163,900 329,504 422,300 290,740 495,456 2,550,000 526,850 273,000 5,519,740

Source: Finnish Environment Institute, 2002

important for nitrogen leaching: the intensity of livestock production; the management of manure; the time of ploughing; the choice of crops in the crop rotation; the amount of fertilizers; the area of fallow fields during the winter (i.e., increased leaching); and the area of wetlands and open ditches close to the fields (i.e., reduced leaching). The average losses from nitrogen fertilizers (discharges to water body/amount of fertilizer applied) were highest in Russia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (24-49%). In Denmark, Sweden and Finland it varied between 12 and 20%. From the viewpoint of losses, the use of nitrogen fertilizers was most effective in Germany and Poland, where the losses were below 10%. These smaller losses may result from the significantly smaller run-off from the territories of Poland and Germany than those from the other countries. In Sweden, nitrogen fertilizer use was low in the late 1980s (105 kg/ha) but as much as 24% was washed out from the fields. The percentage losses in 1995 were higher, especially for the transition countries, due to significant reductions in the use of fertilizers.

In the late 1980s, nitrogen leaching ranged from 20 to 35 kg/ ha. In 1995 in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia the average annual washout of nitrogen was stabilized to values between 10 to 16 kg/ha. In Denmark and Sweden, discharges were higher (28 and 24 kg/ha respectively) which may be explained by the accumulation of nitrogen in the soil. Extremely low agricultural discharges of nitrogen were estimated for Poland (5 kg/ha), which may be a result of under-estimation either in the monitoring or in the calculation procedures. However, it is also probable that the lower values are due to low run-off rates, the special structure of the Polish agriculture and the relatively high proportion of animal manure in fertilizer.

Phosphorus fertilizers
The intensive use of fertilizers over a long period has widely saturated soils with phosphorus, and progress in reducing phosphorus loads will only be visible after a long time lag. Despite various water protection measures, phosphorus releases have only been slightly reduced in some of the countries. In the late 1980s, the countries around the Baltic Sea used 1,800,000 tonnes of phosphorus fertilizers. As with the use of nitrogen fertilizers, the economic situation led to a large decrease in applications in the accession countries

139

Table 43

Phosphorus fertilizer usage by country in the late 1980s and 1995


Country P Fertilizers (t/y) late 1980s Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia Sweden Total 62,290 37,780 84,053 79,400 138,349 180,909 935,500 220,810 50,000 1,789,091 P Fertilizers (t/y) 1995 48,740 6,560 50,271 40,200 16,643 30,593 466,900 21,850 41,000 722,757 22 83 40 49 88 83 50 90 18 60 Reduction (%)

Source: Finnish Environment Institute, 2002

between the late 1980s and 1995 (Table 43). This usage was responsible for roughly 17,300 tonnes of phosphorus annually reaching coastal waters in the late 1980s and 13,500 tonnes in 1995 (Table 44). In 1995, the heaviest leaching was from Poland and Finland with 6,650 and 2,600 tonnes/year respectively. In Russia and Lithuania, the largest reductions took place but even with this decrease, these countries input around 900 tonnes/year. The corresponding value for Germany and Denmark was 640 and 580 tonnes/year and for Latvia and Sweden the input was 510 and 360 tonnes/year. Estonia was the country, which leached the lowest amount of phosphorus (Table 44). In the late 1980s, the use of phosphorus fertilizers per hectare between Baltic Sea countries varied by nearly one order of magnitude. The heaviest users were Russia and Latvia with 96 and 82 kg/ha, respectively. In 1995 the use of phosphorus fertilizers was reduced to levels of 10 to 25 kg/ ha. The largest reductions took place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia. The country-specific average leaching of agricultural phosphorus fertilizers declined slightly from a level of 0.3 to 1.2 kg/ha in the late 1980s to the level of 0.2 to 1.1 kg/ha in 1995. The highest leaching values were calculated for Finland, which can be largely explained by the geochemical quality of the soil. The average losses of the phosphorus fertilizers used varied

from 1 to 5% in 1995. In the late 1980s the losses from phosphorus fertilizers were below 2%, except in Finland. In 1995 losses increased in all countries; in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia the losses increased to a level of 4%. This indicates that the leaching of phosphorus has not decreased at the same rate as the use of nitrogen fertilizers. Although there are still some questions concerning agricultural loads due to (e.g.) small nitrogen leaching coefficients in some countries, significant riverine nitrogen and phosphorus load reductions (about 30%) during the 1990s from the Neva and Narva rivers support the reliability of the agricultural loading estimates from Russia and Estonia. Changes in arable land usage (ha), the number of livestock (animal units), the total number of cattle and pigs, the consumption of mineral and organic fertilizers (tonnes/ year) and the estimated discharges from agriculture that reaches surface freshwater is sufficient to clarify the changes that occurred between the late 1980s and 1995. Crop yield increase does not appear to be correlated with increased applications of either nitrogen or phosphorusbased fertilizers. Instead it is caused by improved farming skills e.g. improved soil tillage and the farmers ability to handle and maintain new and adapted farm machinery. Nitrogen and phosphorus loads from agriculture are closely dependent on geo-morphological and climatic conditions, the

140 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

Table 44

Phosphorus leaching from agricultural use by country in the late 1980s and 1995
Late 1980s 1995 Leaching (%) 1.1 1.0 3.2 0.8 0.7 1.0 0.8 1.1 0.8 1.0 Fertilisers (t/y) 48,740 6,560 50,271 40,200 16,643 30,593 466,900 21,850 41,000 722,757 Leaching (t/y) 580 250 2,600 640 510 890 6,650 1,010 360 13,490 Leaching (%) 1.2 3.8 5.2 1.6 3.1 2.9 1.4 4.6 0.9 1.9

Country

Fertilisers (t/y)

Leaching (t/y) 670 360 2,650 600 1,010 1,810 7,390 2,450 390 17,330

Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia Sweden Grand Total

62,290 37,780 84,053 79,400 138,349 180,909 935,500 220,810 50,000 1,789,091

Source: Finnish Environment Institute, 2002

use of mineral and organic fertilizers, and also as agricultural practices of the area improve. There is still a great need, and plenty of scope for, reductions in nutrient losses in the agricultural sector. One of the most important and complex environmental problems in the Baltic region is the control of the input of nitrogen of phosphorus from agriculture. The main reason for the reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus inputs from agricultural fertilizers is the sharp decrease in agricultural production based on collective farms during the Soviet era, together with a very large decrease in the use of fertilizers. In addition, land privatization and the restoration of small farms with rough production systems in the early 1990s influenced the reduction in nutrient discharges. A large amount of arable land has been out of production as set-aside. For instance, in Estonia the area of unused arable land increased from 1991 to 1995 about 20-fold (from 14,000 ha to 254,000 ha) and the area of fallow land more than tripled (from 6,600 ha to 21,400 ha). During the same period, agricultural production in these states decreased by about 30 to 50%. Despite the ultimate changes in the structure and production of agriculture, the estimated decreases may over-estimate

the actual changes in loading, especially regarding phosphorus, which is effectively bound in soil particles. Finnish, Swedish and German monitoring and modelling studies suggest that even a strong decrease (up to 40 to 50% in Germany and Finland) in the total use of fertilizers has not been reflected in the rates of leaching to water bodies, due to the high surplus and effective binding of P in agricultural soil. For N, the dependence between inputs to, and losses from, the fields should be more immediate. However storages (surpluses) caused by earlier high fertilization levels probably make this process also less immediate. Further, if a substantial part of a nutrient load arrives from groundwater aquifers with long residence times (30 to >100 years) it will take several years before the full effect of implemented measures can be observed in rivers and lakes.

3.10.3 Impacts on biodiversity caused by eutrophication


Initial effects of eutrophication are seen on the phytoplankton resulting in the familiar algal blooms. However, current research indicates that it is not only phytoplankton, which are affected by excessive inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus containing compounds. Effects in the Baltic Sea have been

141

Figure 86

Annual variation of phytoplankton in the western Gulf of Finland (left), northern Baltic Proper (middle)

and Arkona basin (right)

Source: Helcom, 2002

observed in many plant communities e.g. seaweeds like bladder wrack, kelp and maerl; stoneworts such as Chara spp.; flowering plants such as eelgrass meadows. Animal communities are also affected; benthic macro-fauna e.g. crustaceans and other amphipods and isopods, bristle worms and other Polychaetes, and bivalves e.g. clams are all adversely affected. Even higher animals, most notably fish, especially cod, herring and salmon, are not left unaffected by eutrophication.

concentrations of phytoplankton species and so it is important to take into account this seasonal variation when assessing algal blooms. During the spring bloom, phytoplankton biomass in the northern Baltic Proper is smaller than in the Gulf of Finland whilst the phytoplankton peak is lower in the Arkona Basin than in the Gulf of Finland or the northern Baltic Proper during the spring (Figure 86). In Figure 86, the green curve represents the average for the years 1992-2001 and the red dots are values recorded in 2002. In all cases, eutrophication was considerably greater in JulyAugust, 2002 as compared to the ten-year average. Among the thousands of species of microscopic algae, a few dozens produce potent toxins or cause harm. Their impacts include: mass mortalities of fish and shellfish e.g. blooms (red tides) of certain species such as Chattonella marina often produce biological toxins that can kill; human illness or death from eating contaminated fish e.g. neurotoxins produced by several algal species can be concentrated in filter-feeding bivalves, such as mussels and oysters, creating a serious health risk viz. paralytic shellfish poisoning; and death of marine animals directly through the release of toxins into the water . Furthermore, the spines of some diatoms (Chaetoceros concavicornis) can irritate the gills of fish, causing respiratory problems or even death.

Algal blooms
Due to excessive loading of nitrogen and phosphorus, filamentous algae have grown more common and, in several areas, have out-competed perennial red and brown algae. When the algae dies and sinks to the bottom, decomposition leads to anoxia and the bound phosphorus is once more released leading to rapid eutrophication. Offshore, the production and abundance of phytoplankton increases creating surface accumulations and decreasing visibility. Hot, sunny weather with little wind and high concentrations of phosphate in surface waters has led to strong growth of bluegreen algae (cyanobacteria), symptomatic of eutrophication. In the last ten years, the relative abundance of the toxic cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena has increased in relation to the non-toxic Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. The initial levels of phosphorus in the surface water at the beginning of summer were high, thus increasing the growth potential of cyanobacteria. During the period, as the weather calmed and surface waters warmed, extensive cyanobacterial surface aggregations built up. The fraction of the toxic species Nodularia increased in relation to the total phytoplankton flora. In the Baltic Sea there is a strong seasonal cycle in the

Fucus
The status of the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus (bladder wrack) reflects the dramatic alterations that are now occurring in the Baltic Sea. Bladder wrack belts form the basis for

142 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

an ecosystem rich in species and are of great importance for the structure and function of the coastal zone and the Baltic Sea system as a whole. It can be found in the coastal zone from the Kattegat up to the Bothnian Sea. Macro-algae like bladder wrack need sunlight and when the water is turbid these algae are forced up to lower depths. As a result, the macro-algal belts shrink and become narrower. Instead of growing at depths down to 10-12 m, bladder wrack plants today are found at depths several metres higher up. Investigations indicate that the lower growth limit for bladder wrack has been displaced about 2.5 m upwards since the 1940s, and that growth is less dense than it was in earlier years. Fucus is now, however, greatly diminished and has been replaced by filamentous algae (Ulva lactuca, Chaetomorpha linum, Cladophora spp., Enteromorpha spp., Ectocarpus siliculosus), the kelp Laminaria saccharina and the mussel Mytilus edulis. The main reason for this is probably increased competition from these annual, fast-growing filamentous algae profiting from the increased nutrient levels, and the reduced light conditions. Filamentous algae have very high growth rates at high nutrient levels and are therefore favoured under eutrophic conditions at the expense of perennial macro-algae which are well-adapted to low nutrient levels. In the Baltic Sea, green algae of the genus Enteromorpha and brown algae of the genus Pilayella have become notorious for blooms of such filamentous algae and a danger for the remaining stands of Fucus vesiculosus on the Baltic coast. A bladder wrack plant is more than just a plant; it is a small community in its own right, and a teeming variety of marine life (epiphytes, filter feeders, grazers, browsers, mobile invertebrates and fish, including many economically important fish) are dependent upon it for e.g. shelter, spawning, and foraging. Reduced distribution of bladder wrack will, therefore, also affect the species that are associated with it. These include invertebrates living in the seaweed belt, and fish that use it as a spawning and nursery ground. Young fish find protection against predators in macro-algal beds, which therefore have been called fish nurseries. Besides their importance for fisheries and the maintenance of coastal biodiversity, macro-algal communities are also highly important for coastal nutrient cycles. Perennial macro-algae bind nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, in their biomass, which would otherwise be available for enhanced phytoplankton blooms in the open water. Such communities in the coastal zone provide important ecosystem functions, which make their protection a high priority in coastal environmental management and nature conservation. Thus, macro-algal beds

along the coastline act as a buffer against the consequences of eutrophication. Mats of short-lived filamentous algae cannot provide these ecosystem services. In spite of being a suitable food for herbivorous animals, they provide a hostile habitat for the invertebrate bottom fauna and for fish. Fucus also provides shelter for herbivorous animals, which keep rock surfaces free for further colonization by young Fucus. The most efficient herbivorous animals are snails of the genus Littorina. Therefore, Fucus-dominated communities better tolerate a higher nutrient loading in the presence of snails than in their absence. However, once eutrophication has exceeded a critical limit, the capacity of herbivorous animals to counterbalance (i.e. eat) the growth of filamentous algae is exhausted. Then Enteromorpha or other filamentous algae take over and grow into dense mats, which effectively suppress the benthic fauna and the Fucus. There is reason to expect a major impact of climate change on the Fucus-Enteromorpha system in the Baltic Sea. Regional climate models predict an increase of freshwater run-off in the catchment of the Baltic Sea and, thus, a decrease in the salinity of the surface water. This change will probably have a strong impact on herbivorous snails (the marine genus Littorina in the more saline western part, the freshwater genus Theodoxus in the fresher north-eastern part of the Baltic Sea). These snails are the most important grazers and others, such as isopods and amphipods, cannot replace their function. Their absence is expected to lead to an increased sensitivity of the Fucus communities against nutrient loading and to a switch to the Enteromorpha-state at much lower levels of eutrophication. Today, this phenomenon can be observed at the Lithuanian coast where the prevalent salinity of 4-5 per thousand excludes both freshwater and marine snails.

Kelp banks
Kelp banks are a complex and diverse habitat dominated by large, brown, seaweeds, commonly known as kelp (Laminaria spp.). Extensive areas of the offshore banks in Kattegat are dominated by Laminaria hyperborea, which plays an important role in maintaining habitat diversity. Kelp beds provide a three-dimensional structure of different habitat types, supporting a diverse flora and fauna e.g. beds provide an ideal habitat for filamentous algae, bottom fauna, epifauna and fish. Kelp forests serve as an important habitat and food source for many other commercially exploited species, including lobsters and crabs.

143

Nutrient enrichment and water quality, notably affecting light penetration and competition between species, are a threat to the ecological balance of kelp banks. Given the ecological significance of kelp forests, especially their role as protection and habitat of growing fish and crustaceans, any decline will also be directly translated into economic losses.

Eelgrass meadows
Eelgrass communities belong to the flowering plants commonly found in sheltered waters on sandy and/or fine gravel substrates, and the most common species include Zostera marina, Z. angustifolia and Z. noltii. Eelgrasses form a dense, dark green, long and narrow sward and are characterized by high productivity and large biomass. Eelgrass meadows support diverse animal and plant communities and act as nursery areas for fish and shellfish. Perennial, fully submerged eelgrass meadows generally support the highest number of species. Their vigorous growth provides a rich feeding ground for wildfowl such as Brent goose, wigeon, and mute and whooper swan. However, eelgrass communities are sensitive to water pollution and changes in nutrient level. Enrichment of nutrients may also disrupt the structure of eelgrass communities, for example by killing key primary consumers or leading to excessive algal growth smothering the eelgrass. While increasing nutrient levels may to some extent encourage productivity of Zostera, excessive eutrophication is associated with algal blooms, which may smother eelgrass. Oxygen depletion and associated sulphite releases, often associated with nutrient enrichment and increases in turbidity, have also been linked to reductions in productivity and ensuing losses. Links between changes in benthic community structure and eelgrass declines have been shown for some areas although little is known of broader trends.

Maerl beds
Maerl is a collective term for several species of calcified red seaweed. Like corals, maerl can grow to form hard substrata by the accumulation of its skeletal remains. In its live form, it can be found in coastal areas to depths of up to 40 m. It occurs on the soft sandy bottoms of the offshore banks in the Kattegat, in narrow inlets, sea lochs and the sounds between islands where there are faster tidal currents. Maerl beds serve as nursery areas for several commercially harvested marine fish species, and offer shelter for a wide range of coastal species, including crabs and anemones. They also support high levels of biodiversity, with several species thought to be entirely or predominantly confined to maerl habitats. Moreover, maerl constitutes a significant source of oceanic calcium carbonate, an essential resource for other marine species and a source of grains for sand dunes and beaches. Eutrophication is considered a key factor in maerl decline, by causing excessive growth of other more competitive algae.

Chara sp. meadows


Chara meadows occur in water with low salinity throughout the Baltic Sea region where more than 20 species have been identified, including Chara aspera, C. baltica, C. canescens, C. connives and C. tomentosa, Chara species comprise a group of stoneworts, which grow to a height of 30 to 90 cm, forming regular whorls of slender cylindrical branches and colonizing areas to a depth of 2.5 m. They are especially abundant in the shallow and sheltered, soft-bottom areas of the Danish fjords and the Swedish, Finnish and Estonian archipelagos, in coastal lagoons, lakes and pools. Declines in Chara meadows have occurred along the coast as a result of eutrophication. They are largely restricted to nutrient-poor environments and are therefore highly sensitive to eutrophication. They suffer from the resulting decreases in water transparency and are simply outgrown by other marine plants and algae. Change in substrate quality due to eutrophication is also a common threat.

Benthic communities
Benthic communities in the Baltic Sea consist of relatively small-sized invertebrates, which inhabit either burrows or move freely on the sediment. The main groups are the bristle worms and other polychaetes, crustaceans, amphipods & isopods and bivalves. The number of species is typically very low in the Baltic, being some tens in the southern parts and declining to two in the northernmost areas. However, the abundance of the dominant species can be high, exceeding 10,000 individuals/m2. The tolerance of these organisms to oxygen deficiency varies between species but in general an oxygen concentration of 2ml/l is considered critical for the succession of communities. In the Baltic Sea, the hypoxia (oxygen concentration < 2ml/l) and anoxic areas cover occasionally 100,000 km, which is about one quarter of the total area of the Baltic Sea. In areas with hypoxic or anoxic sea bottom conditions, and especially if hydrogen sulphide is formed, less benthic animals are found, either killed or because they move away,

144 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

and they are also found over increasingly smaller areas of the seabed. These benthic animals play an important role in the natural cycling of nutrients and oxygen in the marine environment, helping to oxygenate the sediments and enhance the normal decomposition of organic matter. When the benthic animals disappear, this process of bioturbation stops, resulting in increased oxygen depletion and disturbance of the decomposition process. Macoma balthica can detoxify hydrosulphide by oxidizing it and these mussels now constitute about 80-90% of the total biomass below about 60 m. Oxygen deficiency can lead to loss of all benthic fauna in areas below 60-70 m. In many places below 100 m, there are no macro-fauna living in the Baltic. Hypoxic and anoxic bottom areas, often referred to as dead bottoms, are, however, reversible states. If oxygen conditions and the pressure of eutrophication change for the better, the first animals can return within a few weeks and gradually the sea bottoms can be re-colonized. Re-colonization is a variable process in terms of time, space and environmental conditions. It can take months, or even years, and the animal communities need not necessarily be the same as before. Decreased oxygen levels can have a number of other secondary water quality impacts. Studies on functional biodiversity showed that the significant changes in behaviour of benthic animals start well in advance, already when the oxygen saturation sinks to 30-40% e.g. Macoma balthica burrows more slowly in low saturation than in normal conditions. Also, it was found that a shrimp species had a decreased catching success. Many marine invertebrates that have several developmental stages also need to be at lower depths of the sea for some of these stages. Considering all these results together it can be concluded that common marine animals are behaving erratically in geographically large areas as a result of eutrophication.

erratically, e.g. flounders swimming towards the surface. Eutrophication resulting from i.e. agriculture practices has also had a high impact on fish resources. In many coastal areas, eutrophication has led to changes in the composition of fish communities. There are in total about 100 fish species living in the Baltic Sea. The commercially most important species are cod (Gadus morhua), herring (Clupea harengus), and sprat (Sprattus sprattus), others are different species of flatfish e.g. flounder, Atlantic salmon, sea trout, European eel, pike and perch. Changes in the populations of different species indicate the ecosystems are being seriously disturbed. These changes are being exacerbated by current fishing practices with analysis over the period 1994-98 indicating that current levels of fishing for cod, herring, salmon and eel in the Baltic Sea are unsustainable. The loss of spawning grounds in polluted, dammed or artificially channelled rivers also threatens migratory fish such as the wild salmon and the sturgeon. During a period of four years (1994-98) the proportion of truly wild salmon among the salmon in the Baltic Sea has declined from 14% to less than 8%, although there are now signs that it is recovering. Eutrophication in collaboration with the poor exchange in the Baltic deep basins is a threat to fish populations as they may become trapped in low oxygen areas by winds or tidal currents and die. In the case of cod, oxygen concentrations higher than 2ml/l at the depths where eggs are neutrally buoyant are a necessary pre-requisite for obtaining good recruitment, and anoxia in the bottom layer combined with low salinity at the spawning grounds reduces recruitment. At present, cod reproduction is normal only in the Bornholm Basin. Therefore, fish that live on the bottom, like flatfish, eels etc. are most affected.

Fish
Eutrophication is thought to enhance the availability of food to fish, as it often results in an increase in abundance and biomass. However, it also has adverse ecological effects on most fish species, due to loss of macrophytes, destruction of spawning areas, oxygen depletion or harmful algal blooms. If the amount of organic matter becomes excessive, the oxygen in the seawater is used up and natural toxic by-products poison the water. In the worst case, the oxygen levels in the bottom water decrease dramatically, thus suffocating fish and other animals and eventually causing mass mortality. Flatfish start to behave

10.3.4 Current environmental risk assessment


At the moment, there is no environmental risk assessment carried out with respect to nitrogen and phosphorus discharges and their contribution to eutrophication. Nonetheless, national loading figures have been collected in long-term monitoring programmes, which, however, differ among countries, especially regarding diffuse loading. Additionally, some of the loading figures for the late 1980s have been calculated based on background statistics and/or model calculations, without the possibility of verification by monitored data. The loading figures for 1995 are, for the most

145

Table 45

Nitrogen load and reductions emanating from agriculture achieved between the late 1980s and 1995
Nitrogen input (tonnes/year) Late 1980s 1995 53,800 12,600 37,000 26,100 17,100 35,500 94,600 24,000 48,200 348,900 tonnes 25,200 17,600 8,500 9,100 16,700 24,000 40,500 58,700 16,900 217,200 Reduction % 32 58 19 26 49 40 30 71 26 38 Input total 1995 % 16 4 11 7 5 10 27 7 14 101

Country

Denmark Estonia Finland Germany Latvia Lithuania Poland Russia Sweden Total Source: SYKE, 2002

79,000 30,200 45,500 35,200 33,800 59,500 135,100 82,700 65,100 566,100

part, calculated from the data obtained in monitoring programmes. As a result of the eutrophication problem, in September 1988, the Ministers of the Environment of the Baltic Sea States decided that each country should reduce anthropogenic loading to the Baltic Sea by 50% from 1987 levels by the year 1995. On top of this, each country has also developed its own national targets and strategies with respect to these discharges. Agricultural loading levels of nitrogen and phosphorus usually showed smaller decreases than point source loading. Overall, reductions were greatest in the newly acceded EU countries, due to fundamental changes in their political and economical systems in the early 1990s. In other EU Member States (viz. Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany), the observed decrease was usually smaller and was based on water protection measures implemented during the period. This development strengthened also in the countries in transition during the 1990s (viz. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia). In general, decreases could be found in nitrogen, while decreases in phosphorus remained smaller. In Finland, Germany and Sweden, no decrease could be found in agricultural phosphorus loading, despite strong reductions in the use of P-fertilizers. In most countries, the 50% reduction target was not reached for phosphorus emanating from diffuse sources like agriculture. Here, average reductions

reached only around 22%. For nitrogen, too, the measures fell short of their aims and again nitrogen loading was only reduced by 38%. In fact, only one of the countries (Russia) was able to halve its total agricultural nutrient discharges for both nitrogen and phosphorus within the original time frame set (Table 45). Despite the reductions achieved, the discharges of nutrient load to coastal waters are still unacceptably high. In 1995, the Baltic drainage area still received ca. 350,000 tonnes of nitrogen and over 13,000 tonnes of phosphorus Poland has the highest concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus load. In 1995, the nutrient load was 94,600 and 6,650 tonnes/year of nitrogen and phosphorus respectively. This accounts for 27% of the nitrogen and almost half of the phosphorus released. Although Sweden and Denmark together contributed only 7% f the total phosphorus to coastal waters, their nitrogen discharges were 48,200 and 53,800 tonnes/year respectively, amounting to 30% of the total. The discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen were both high in Russia, Finland and Lithuania, which contributed together 28% nitrogen and 33% phosphorus respectively. Estonia is the country that discharges the lowest amount of N and P containing nutrients with only 4% and 2% of nitrogen and phosphorus load. According to national estimates, the transition countries except Poland have largely reached the

146 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea

50% reduction in agricultural nutrient loading. The conclusion concerning the reductions achieved is, however, uncertain due to the lack of monitoring systems for diffuse loading in the late 1980s. However, both the drastic reduction in the use of fertilizers (80-90%) and decrease in agricultural production (30-40%), as well as the increase of the green set-aside areas, supported the estimated reductions. The main reason for the failure to reduce phosphorus loading is the net surplus of phosphorus in the soil due to the high use of phosphorus fertilizers in these countries. The reduction in fertilization has balanced the surplus to zero or close to it. This has, however, not been sufficient to reduce soil phosphorus concentrations. There will be a long lag before any changes can be seen in losses. With nitrogen also, some time lag is expected between the implementation of reduction measures and decreases in nitrogen discharges to surface waters. Measures that can reduce the phosphorus leaching includes decreased fertilization, changed livestock nutrition, reduced livestock density, carbonating of soils, and construction of protection zones between fields and open ditches or streams. This data clearly demonstrates the constraints of having a policy, which has a fixed percentage reduction target applicable for all countries. The 50% nitrogen reduction for Poland still leaves it free to discharge almost 65,000 tonnes/ yr, a value well in excess of the amounts discharged in the 1980s by most of the other Baltic States. Equally, a 50% reduction of nutrient load in countries like Estonia or Latvia does not represent a real change in the grand total of the overall nutrient load. Perhaps of greater importance is that it must be realized that the current targets are not based in any way on any form of environmental risk assessment. They are simply the most politically acceptable reductions. Even if the targets were to be reached, it is not known whether it will really reduce eutrophication since it is not known what the critical loadings are for the effects of eutrophication to be seen.

3.10.5 Conclusions
The environmental situation in many parts of the Baltic Sea has deteriorated rapidly since the 1950s. The Sea is characterized by naturally unfavourable conditions that make it particularly sensitive to the impact of eutrophication. Eutrophication affects the whole Baltic Sea, particularly the coastal areas, and those areas most affected have grown and deeper waters are often stagnant. The main cause of eutrophication is enrichment of the waters by nitrogen and phosphorus containing substances. Although, many human activities within the large drainage area cause input of N and P-containing nutrients to the Baltic Sea, the greatest input comes from agriculture. The leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus-containing fertilizers into the rivers adjacent to farmland is the main reason for the elevated levels of N and P. On average, agriculture is estimated to account for 60% of nitrogen load and more than 25% of the phosphorus load. This is principally from the (over)-use of N- and P-containing fertilizers. The process of eutrophication is well documented. It begins with N and P nutrient enrichment, which leads to an increase in micro-algal production. This triggers various physical, chemical and biological changes in plant and animal communities, as well as changes in processes in, and on, the bottom sediments. Eventually, levels in the oxygen supply to surface waters are altered and oxygen consumption in deep waters increases. The result, at its worst, is anoxia. In general, Baltic seawater nutrient concentrations are higher today than fifty years ago when uncontrolled point source pollution was at its height. Recent evidence is showing that eutrophication now has an important adverse impact on the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea and that eutrophication is becoming a threat to its living resources. Many higher plant communities are adversely affected and animal species up to, and including, fish (some of them commercially important) are declining. Additional pressures on these resources e.g. fishing mean that measures need to be taken to curtail eutrophication. Although the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea have recognized for at least two decades that eutrophication is probably the single most serious problem affecting it, they have been slow to take action. In 1988, the nine states agreed to take measures to cut nitrogen and phosphorus inputs by 50% from the levels of the 1980s by 1995. However, none of them managed to do so. Decreases in nitrogen loads were 38%, while decreases in phosphorus remained smaller, 22%. Furthermore, since the states have widely differing input

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levels a blanket reduction of 50% is not the best way to solve the problem and, whilst these reductions are welcome, they are entirely without basis. Even if the reductions are all reached there is no guarantee that eutrophication will reduce, let alone stop. This is because they are not based on anything empirical. They are essentially of political expediency; the Baltic States can be seen to be doing something, which appears positive. The greatest problem surrounding any improvement in the ecological situation is the lack of any risk assessment to determine what levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are actually needed to reduce the problem. Without knowing what concentrations are relevant to initiate eutrophication it becomes virtually impossible to set targets of fertilizer usage. Present day observations of the effects of eutrophication show that phosphorus and nitrogen input into inland waters still needs to be drastically reduced. This can be done by e.g. introducing cultivation techniques that decrease field erosion and provide for the more efficient use of nutrients. For more efficient water protection, the use of fertilizers should be in keeping with the conditions at the site and nutrient requirements of the crops. Nutrient utilization requirements can be assessed using farm-specific nutrient balances. Introducing environmentally efficient methods of manure treatment, storage and spreading should reduce leaching of nutrients from animal husbandry into water areas. Liquid manure, other liquid organic fertilizers or un-composted dry manure should not be spread in important or potentially important groundwater areas There is still clearly a need to further develop methodologies by which to measure diffuse agricultural loading, as well as generally accepted methodologies for determining discharges/losses from diffuse sources into surface waters. It is incumbent on the Baltic States to define policies, which will ensure adequate risk assessment takes place so that meaningful reduction targets can be set and, eventually, met. However politically difficult, it is necessary to take a number of political, economic and technical measures to reduce the emissions and discharges of N and P nutrients from the agricultural sector in order to combat the process of eutrophication in the Baltic Sea.

148 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Eutrophication risks and biodiversity in the Baltic Sea /

3.11 Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands

3.11.1 The Green Heart as part of the Randstad


The Green Heart is the open, mostly agricultural area, situated between five major cities in the western part of the Netherlands, namely Amsterdam to the north, The Hague and Leiden to the west, Rotterdam to the south and Utrecht to the east. Because of their expansion, these cities tend to merge into one big city, called Randstad. To prevent this from happening, to preserve the cultural-historical landscapes and environmental values, and to maintain the recreational function of the area, a policy was implemented that was very restrictive towards the expansion of build-up areas and the deterioration of green functions such as agriculture, nature and recreation. Randstad Holland thus consists of a ring of cities with a population of some 6 million, and a central area with some 670,000 inhabitants. Population density in the ring is approximately 1,680 per km, and in the Green Heart 470 per km (i.e. slightly higher than in the Netherlands as a whole). The largest part of the Green Heart is located in the province of South Holland, with smaller segments in North Holland and Utrecht (Figure 87). The population is still growing more rapidly in the Green Heart than in the Netherlands as a whole. Protection is no longer the sole objective of land use planning policy for the Green Heart, which is now drawn up in close consultation with local authorities and other organizations. Apart from restrictive measures - in relation, for example, to businesses and new housing - policy largely focuses on developing the Green Hearts potential rather than conserving its status quo.

Figure 87

Location of the Green Heart Area (area 1 on the right) in the context of the internationally important

landscapes of the Netherlands

Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands

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Figure 88

Territorial policy initiatives affecting the Green Heart

Source: Alterra, 2003

In this respect, the area is not regarded as a single entity. Traditionally, settlements were built alongside rivers such as the Oude Rijn, the Hollandse IJssel and the Gouwe, where the land was higher and drier than the surrounding marshes. These settlements formed a basis from which marsh could be reclaimed.

management and recreation alongside basic food production. This is also and especially the case in the Green Heart region where the number of second-income farmers is steadily growing. With regard to the preservation of the traditional open agricultural landscape, the intensity of agricultural land use or land abandonment is not threatening these values, but mainly the steady expansion of urban areas from its periphery. The demand for new housing locations is greatest in the northern wing of the Randstad urban agglomeration. This is also the area that has the highest economic dynamics and greatest diversity. Figure 88 illustrates both the land use dynamics as well as the policy designations that affect the area of the Green Heart. Within the total lowland peat landscape of the Green Heart, the boundaries of two Dutch policies, namely the Landscape Quality Preservation Act and the Open Area Regulation, are meant to guarantee the typical openness of this internationally important landscape type. Internationally protected areas include planned and implemented UNESCO World Heritage sites at its periphery and also Natura 2000 sites (not represented). A recent analysis of the land cover changes according to the Corine Image 2000 data shows that

3.11.2 Agriculture
The Green Heart can be divided into roughly three main areas: fens and grassland to the north, interspersed with lakes and ponds, very open fens and grassland on either side of the Lek river to the south, and a mixed area (grassland, arable farms and market gardens) to the west. Dutch agriculture represents about 2.7% of the Dutch economy and is being produced by 1.6% of the economically active population. Though the importance of agriculture as an important economic base in rural society is diminishing due to the continual loss of jobs in the production process, the agricultural sector does remain, however, the most important manager of green space in the Netherlands. An increasing number of agricultural enterprises is developing supplementary activities such as nature

150 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands

Figure 89

Example of Shannon diversity based on the same land cover database calculated for the European

landscape map (left) or the Dutch ecological Map units (right)

inside the boundaries of the designated areas, land use changes occurred at a much lower rate than outside of these. The most dominant factor of the changes affecting the Green Heart is due to urbanization, a factor that mainly increases the land use diversity and decreases its openness. The expected agricultural landscape diversity and vulnerability, based on both intrinsic and Shannon diversity of Corine land cover types have been calculated for the Green Heart case study area. For this analysis more detailed and updated land cover data has been used for calculating landscape diversity. Also more nationally based landscape structure area maps have been used to refine the details. In the case studies the use of complementary data (e.g. structural data on landscape diversity components such as hedges and ponds) has been used to check the final calculated diversity and vulnerability maps.

Green Heart. As it could be expected, the Dutch-based analysis produces a higher level of detail and as a consequence more fine-grain indications for high Shannon diversity at various locations. Apart from this difference, there is an overall resemblance concerning the large area characterizations: Low and very low Shannon diversity dominates in both results the central and eastern areas of the Green Heart, though with larger proportions recognized in the Dutch-based assessment; Average thus higher Shannon diversity is in both cases located at the north-western part, though the Dutch study identifies the same for more areas located at its western and eastern periphery; High Shannon diversity is only recognized in the European assessment for the north-eastern part, but resembles average diversity in the Dutch study. The overall conclusion for comparing Shannon diversity between the European-based and Dutch-based data assessments is that the national data largely confirms the European assessment, but provides more detail and differentiation that must be considered as relevant when addressing the regional context.

3.11.3 National validation of landscape Shannon diversity


Figure 89 illustrates the results of a comparative analysis between the European-based and the national-based diversity assessment based on calculating the Shannon index for the

151

Figure 90

Example intrinsic (left) and Shannon (medium) diversity used to calculate a more detailed vulnerability of

landscape diversity for the Dutch ecological Map units (right)

152 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands

Figure 91

Changing Landscape Vulnerability comparing CLC data from 1990 and 2000 (specifying the change for

Shannon Diversity)

Shannon diversity 1990

Shannon diversity 2000

Vulnerability 1990

Change in diversity 1990-2000 correlated with vulnerability 1990

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3.11.4 National validation of landscape vulnerability taking into account intrinsic diversity
The assessment of the intrinsic land cover diversity addresses the type of diversity that can be linked to the character of specific land cover types as they appear in the landscape (see overall methodology). Figure 90 illustrates the results of this assessment again based on the Dutch data sources (Dutch ecological map units). Like in the European assessment, the Green Heart is dominated by low and very low intrinsic diversity; the European assessment, however, identifies much larger proportions of non-agricultural land cover types. The Dutch study illustrates, that many so-called artificial land cover types (e.g. urban areas) are located exactly outside the boundaries of the Green Heart. Though the overall intrinsic diversity is low, there are some differences to take note of: low intrinsic diversity: these have been identified for the south-western part of the Green Heart which consists mainly of agricultural mixed area (grassland, arable farms and market gardens; very low intrinsic diversity: these are located in the eastern and northern part of the Green Heart, which are dominated by very old polder landscapes; high and very high intrinsic diversity: does basically not occur in the Green Heart; of average or not specifically intrinsic diversity: has been recognized for a section at the north-eastern border of the Green Heart, but which is not really related to agricultural diversity, but to a certain richness of water bodies. The most important aspect in this result is that in the case of the Green Heart, low intrinsic values of agricultural diversity must be considered to be of special landscape value. The next assessment step is the overlay between Shannon and intrinsic diversity to arrive at the vulnerability assessment for landscape diversity. For the explanation of the vulnerability assessment in the case studies see the method for the European map: very vulnerable: both intrinsic Corine and Shannon diversity are low; vulnerable: intrinsic Corine diversity is low; not specifically vulnerable; vulnerable: intrinsic Corine diversity is high; very vulnerable: both intrinsic Corine and Shannon diversity are high. The result of this overlay using the Dutch national data demonstrates, that the characteristic low diversity of the

open peatland and polder landscapes in the Netherlands, and also in the Green Heart, must be considered as vulnerable towards possible land use changes. Such changes are mainly related to a diversification of land use, land abandonment, and in the case of the Green Heart especially the expansion or invasion of urban/peri-urban areas substituting agricultural land use. The difference between low and very low vulnerability of landscape diversity is mainly driven by the average Shannon diversity for the western polder landscapes.

3.11.5 Landscape diversity changes over time


The vulnerability assessment for the Green Heart area case study has been extended with a calculation which compares the change of diversity over time, related to the expected vulnerability for landscape changes. Due to the availability of Corine Image 2000 land cover data for the Netherlands, the above assessments could also be done for two different time frames. This allows assessing a certain trend in land cover changes and its implications for the vulnerability of landscape diversity over time. Figure 91 shows how the Shannon Diversity index within the Green Heart has changed within ten years: the original dominance of low and very low landscape diversity (as being characteristic for Dutch low, open landscapes in this region), has been substantially reduced while there is a clear increase of (though relatively small) high diverse landscape areas throughout the Green Heart. The very low diversity zone, in the year 1990 still covering major parts of the Green Heart is being reduced to an area at its southern border. These findings are also confirmed by the analysis of changes in the vulnerability: the area where low diversity is at risk has expanded substantially.

3.11.6 Interpretation of the results


The comparisons between the European and national assessments of landscape diversity for the example of the Green Heart region in the Netherlands illustrate that European trend results are largely confirmed on the basis of national data. The high resolution Dutch data on ecodistricts and land cover allows arriving at higher levels of detail and differentiation. Vulnerability assessment should, however, take into account the effects of policy measures: as Figure 88 has demonstrated, major parts of the Green Heart are protected by legislation, reducing its vulnerability towards changes. The interpretation of changes towards high or low

154 Risk assessment at local to regional scale / Landscape risks in the Green Heart, the Netherlands

levels of diversity require regional or national guidance. A European assessment of landscape diversity is hence only feasible if information on landscape history and preferences is as in the example of the Green Heart accessible.

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156 Review of methodology, data and results / Soil erosion

Review of methodology, data and results


This Chapter summarizes and discusses the main findings of the EnRisk team with regards to the method applied, the data and indicators used and the results obtained. It critically assesses the suitability of the EnRisk approach, identifies bottlenecks and uncertainties and describes ways for improvement. At the start of this section, it is useful to present an overview of key indicators that have been used or developed by EnRisk and how they relate to the ELISA (Wascher, 2000a), European Commission COM(2001) 144 final (CEC, 2001b) and OECD (OECD, 2001) agri-environmental indicators.

4.1 Soil erosion


The soil erosion assessment used for EnRisk is based on the universal soil loss equation (USLE). It has therefore to be mentioned that the USLE only estimates certain types of soil loss, whereas others are neglected. Only long-term average soil loss from a single field plot by sheet and rill erosion caused by rainfall is taken into consideration, whereas other types of water erosion like gully, streambank and streambed erosion are not considered. Using the USLE, however, may still be justified as it considers the most important type of soil loss upon which agricultural practice may influence. The main limitations of the assessment are mainly implied by the fact that input data as necessary for the USLE do not exist at a European level but had to be derived from other existing

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Table 46

Key EnRisk indicators and corresponding AEIs from the ELISA project, European Commission and OECD
ELISA Water erosion Livestock density EC Soil erosion Cropping/livestock patterns OECD Risk of soil erosion by water -

EnRisk key indicator Soil loss Tolerable soil loss Soil erosion Soil erosion risk Animal density

N-load at river estuary P-load at river estuary Excretion from livestock manure N-surplus Pesticide use

Nitrate in rivers -

Nitrates in water -

Nitrate surplus Direct usage data per pesticide; sales data per pesticide; estimated usage data per crop

Surface nutrient balance Pesticide consumption

Nitrogen balance Pesticide use

Pesticide risk (aquatic/ terrestrial) Water body index Agricultural land cover

Pesticide risk

Pesticide risk

Share of UAA in total area

Stock of agricultural land; agricultural land use; intensively-farmed agricultural habitats

Breeding bird species richness Threat scores Biodiversity loss risk Landscape character Landscape diversity

Species richness

Species richness

Wild species diversity

Openness vs. closedness -

Land use matrix; agricultural and global diversity

Structure of landscapes; environmental features and land use patterns

Landscape vulnerability Landscape risk

Source: from the ELISA project (Wascher, 2000a), European Commission (2001) and OECD (2001)

158 Review of methodology, data and results / Soil erosion

data sources. In addition the underlying data are only available at a very coarse scale, which, apart from a lack of accuracy, introduces some systematic error. As Figure 78 (Section 3.8.3) illustrates erosion is underestimated as the grid resolution of an underlying elevation model increases. Another systematic error of the assessment may be due to the fact that a different function was used to estimate the erosivity of the rain for northern and for southern parts of Europe. A series of further shortcomings are discussed in detail in Section 2.1.1, 3.8.3 and at van der Knijff et al. (2000). In consequence the case study results indicate that the European USLE assessment does not agree very well with local investigations if compared to the original 1x1 km resolution of the European map. Nevertheless, on a coarser scale regional differences within the case study areas, which may be due to prevalence of different types of land use or landforms, show a good coincidence between the European map and the case study assessments. Similarly the European map correctly reproduces relative differences between the three case study areas. The main conclusion that may be drawn from that is that the European USLE assessment from van der Knijff et al. (2000) may be used if an over-interpretation is avoided. The original authors already pointed out that soil loss, although calculated as t ha-1 year-1, should only be displayed on a relative scale. This was taken into account for EnRisk. Additionally one may arrive at the conclusion that the aggregation of the data from the original 1x1 km grid to the 50x50 km grid, which had to be done to meet the unified EnRisk grid, yields results which are better sustained by the underlying data as the results at the original resolution, which do not sufficiently meet the outcome of the case study assessment. The fact, that the coarse resolution shows a better coincidence with the case study results, is mainly a consequence of the inappropriate resolution of the underlying data. For instance the elevation model, which was used for the European map gives an average value for the slope angel as calculated over a 1x1 km grid cell. This method is unlikely to deliver an accurate value. For more general statements, however, for instance to differentiate between mountainous, hilly or flat areas, this procedure may still be adequate. More recent European soil erosion assessments, especially PESERA, brought advances. Nevertheless validation studies show, that the newer erosion models still do not agree too well if results derived from a pan-European data background with a low resolution are compared to local assessments (van Rompaey et al., 2003).

An attempt was made to compare soil erosion to tolerable soil loss. The underlying idea is that the same rate of soil loss is a bigger threat and therefore a higher risk in places where soils are shallow as it is at deep soils. For that purpose a method described at Schertz (1983) and Schwertmann et al. (1987) was applied with the data in the Soil Geographical Data Base of Europe (European Soil Bureau, 1999). Pedo transfer procedures were developed and are described in Section 2.1.2. The maps produced for soil loss relative to tolerable soil loss indicate for some areas a high risk in spite of low erosion because soils are shallow. The method therefore may help to identify zones where protection measures are urgent. The weakness of the underlying data, however, has to be taken into consideration as already discussed above. Data aggregation may be a means to avoid an over interpretation. The data aggregation procedure used to transform the results of the original 1x1 km grid to the 50x50 km EnRisk grid may be applied with any erosion map. In order to display different situations within every 50x50 km grid cell the median value and the 90 percentile were calculated from all 1x1 km grid cells contained in each 50x50 km cell. The median stands for a typical situation, whereas the 90 percentile indicates the level of erosion at the worst places in each 50x50 km cell. The 90 percentile maps seem to be especially useful to answer the question if high soil erosion may be expected in some place within a 50x50 km grid cell, whereas this information is levelled out in most cases of the grid cells displaying the median values. Complementary to the spatial aggregation a disaggregation by land use was carried out. Different maps for arable crops, grassland and permanent crops were produced. For that purpose the original data at the 1x1 km resolution were filtered using Corine Land Cover before aggregating to the 50x50 km grid. The results from the different maps demonstrate that in many of the 50x50 km grid cells permanent crops have higher rates of soil loss than other types of land use. This may be explained by the fact that permanent crops provide little protection to the soil and may be even planted on steep slopes. Priority for protection measures should therefore be given to this type of land use.

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4.2 Pesticides
The environmental risk that is caused by pesticide use in agriculture not only depends on the pesticide volume used but also on the intrinsic eco-toxicological properties of the compounds and the application conditions. The indicator SYNOPS as applied in the EnRisk project follows these ideas. In the aquatic part the SYNOPS indicator model is compatible with the REXTOX indicator, recommended by the OECD. The terrestrial part needs a further development according to the general situation in this field. In 2004 an EU-funded specific targeted research project for the development of harmonized indicators for the risk of pesticides (HAIR, SSPE-CT-2003-50 1997) has been started to improve the situation. It can be expected that the formulae used in the SYNOPS indicator will also be adopted in this harmonized indicator pyramid. Especially the terrestrial compartment and the consideration of long-term exposure and effects need an improvement by the HAIR-project. All risk calculations should be based on proper pesticide use data. The only recently available data based on a unique method for Europe are the results of the ECPA - study 19921999. The main limits of these data are: that they provide facts only on a country scale; that because of confidentiality for a large number of pesticides only the chemical class is assigned and not their identity. During a Eurostat workshop in May 2003 the need for more harmonization of pesticide statistics and common classifications has been expressed. It should be stressed that a regionalized database on pesticide use would essentially improve the results of risk calculations. As a consequence the risk maps as provided here can only be as good as the input data on pesticide use are. This becomes especially visible in the case study of the Murcia region where the use data for Spain are projected on a regional scale. From the Murcia case study it becomes also clear that some climatic factors like the probability of rain have to be added to the risk driving forces to get a more realistic figure of (theoretical) risk. Because of the different scaling of risk indices (e.g. area of arable land in a grid 50-cell, percentage of water in a grid 50cell, share of perennial crops area in a municipality etc.) not absolute values but relative differences between regions should be interpreted. The second pesticide case study in county Hildesheim (Germany) provides first hints, how the relative risk classes on the European scale have to be interpreted in terms of measured exposure and effects on non-target organisms on a local scale. The European classification low-medium (3rd class) risk means here: that pesticides can be detected in surface water; that only a few measurements exceed theoretical ecotoxicological endpoints; and no biological effects can be observed. Unfortunately, in the time frame of the EnRisk project no such case study data could be exploited for regions that are classified as high risky on the European scale. These exercises are left up to further work as planned in the validation part of the HAIR-project.

160 Review of methodology, data and results / Pesticides / Eutrophication / Biodiversity

4.3 Eutrophication
Eutrophication of inland and marine waters has been identified as a major European environmental issue, with excess phosphates distorting ecosystems of inland waters and excess amounts of nitrogen that affect ecosystems in marine waters. Monitoring efforts on eutrophication are widespread across Europe, and some modelling efforts are developed in some countries to link activities with eutrophication (e.g. Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Agriculture is responsible for diffuse pollution through run off water carrying organic manure and mineral fertilizers (NO3 and PO4), entering into streams and groundwater. In addition, ammonia is deposited downwind, affecting fragile ecosystems. Urban households and industrial sources affect eutrophication through control of wastewater treatment, emitting BOD/COD (biological/ chemical oxygen demand), as well as NO3 and PO4 into surface water.

4.4 Biodiversity
Biodiversity risk assessment is a new field of applied science. To date it is mainly practised to assess the risk from the introduction of GMOs or by multinational extraction industries to assess the risks of intended projects (Fairman et al., 1998). Therefore, the method that has been developed by EnRisk is the result of the project teams expert judgement and best available knowledge. The steps taken in EnRisk (Section 2.4.2) have been carried out to identify the four important components for risk assessment: baseline situation; sensitivity to pressures; pressures; combining vulnerability and pressures to quantify risks. The subsequent steps of identifying acceptability of risk and risk management decisions are beyond the scope of this study. The baseline situation was calculated on the basis of richness of breeding bird species that are associated with selected ecosystems. This step limits the scope of the biodiversity risk assessment. Breeding birds, although advocated as useful biodiversity indicators (Heath & Rayment, 2003), represent a tiny component of the entire spectrum of species diversity. Also, patterns in species richness for one species group do not necessarily correspond to richness patterns in other taxa (Williams & Gaston, 1998; Watt, 2000; Weibull & stman, 2003). When assessing risks from agriculture it would be required to also consider other taxa, most notably flowering plants, insects (butterflies) and soil biodiversity. To date, comprehensive European-wide data on the distribution of these taxa are lacking. Another limitation is in the selection of ecosystems. This project has focused on four ecosystem types that cover a large part of the agricultural land cover. Other selections could have been made. However, the definition of an ecosystem type for an area as large as Europe inherently is rather generic. Each European ecosystem is composed of many different habitat types, which in turn are composed of different vegetation types. This means that selecting species that are associated to an ecosystem is relatively arbitrary and inaccurate; especially if the definitions of ecosystems differ depending on the source (as is the case between CLC (CEC, 1994) and the BirdLife habitat classification as used by EnRisk (Tucker & Evans, 1997)). This limitation obviously increases the uncertainty of any further assessments that are based on these selections.

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A further limitation to European biodiversity risk assessment arises from variation in the spatial aspects considered by EnRisk. Not only does the extent of the geographical area covered vary, but also the resolution at which data are available. Especially for the species distribution data, which are only available at a resolution of 50x50 km for Europe, there are spatial constraints on the availability of data for the purpose of risk assessment. At this resolution, a correlation between the presence of a species (abundance data unavailable) and presence or extent of a habitat type is difficult to interpret. For that reason, the project team has used published lists of bird species that have been assigned to certain habitat types (Tucker & Evans, 1997), merely to illustrate what could be possible with better data at hand. This leads to another shortcoming of the results. The species distribution data applied in EnRisk reflect the situation of a period of years that was over 15 years ago. Also the Corine Land Cover data that have been used date back to 1990. This makes it very hard to assess risks of current (let alone future) levels of pressures from agriculture. In addition, threshold values for vulnerability of species to agricultural practices are almost non-existent. The threat scores that have been given to bird species (Tucker & Evans, 1997) are probably the best available data at the European scale. Also the Ellenberg indicator values for Central European plant species (Ellenberg et al., 1992) could possibly serve this purpose. Therefore, a proper quantification of sensitivity of biodiversity, including an indication of the level of uncertainty, would require more quantitative data. The project has produced generic sensitivity and risk classes instead. Finally, a bottleneck in applying biodiversity risk assessment is in the lack of knowledge of many aspects of the complex relationships within biodiversity and with external factors. Multicausality, time lag between cause and effect, carrying capacity and other factors make it difficult to assess causeeffect relationships, even between one pressure and one receptor. Identifying dose-response rates, as is done in more traditional environmental risk assessments, is clearly not yet feasible for biodiversity. All this being said, the project team believes that it has developed an outline of a method for biodiversity risk assessment that can work in the future, if a number of data and knowledge conditions are met. Derived from what is said above, such conditions would include availability of

comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date species distribution data at a finer resolution (max. 30x30 km; Storch et al., 2003), preferably together with species abundance data. Also, more accurate data on ecosystems would be required, as well as on the relation between species, ecosystems and pressures. The results from the case study in Murcia have demonstrated that refinement and reliability of biodiversity risk assessment with the method applied is possible. Especially the availability of species distribution data at 10x10 km resolution enabled a more realistic assessment in relation to land cover and agricultural pressures.

162 Review of methodology, data and results / Biodiversity / Landscape

4.5 Landscape
Landscape assessments at the European level let alone landscape risk assessments are still in a very early state of exploration and implementation. In fact, the EnRisk project can be seen as probably the first attempt to systematically develop a methodology for identifying landscapes risks in the context of agri-environmental changes. The principle challenges that have been encountered can be summarized as follows: Technical references: until recently, there have only been rather generic attempts to describe and map landscapes at the European level; most landscape research and policy activities are based on national and regional data sets that differentiate landscapes according to a wide range of parameters. The EU Accompanying Measure project European Landscape Character Assessment Initiative (ELCAI) represents the first effort to cross-analyse the different national approaches in order to arrive at methodological concepts for an integrative European landscape classification. The EnRisk project was able to draw upon both the ELCAI project and a parallel project to develop a first proto type landscape typology and map (Mcher et.al., 2003) at the pan-European level. Concepts: landscapes as geo-socio-spatial entities are defined and perceived in a large variety of ways. While taking into account existing literature, research and policy papers, a conceptual framework for landscapes is requested to combine the integrative multi-layer aspects of landscapes with a high degree of uniqueness in terms of being complementary and not just overlapping with other existing environmental frameworks such as soil, vegetation, biogeography or ecology. The landscape concept is required to serve as an umbrella while addressing landscape-specific functions and values that are closely related to the socioeconomic as well as natural sciences. Indicators: at the European level, the development of landscape indicators has been driven by the OECD and EU agri-environmental processes, most notably with the nomination of candidate indicators in the ELISA project (Wascher, 2000a) and in the EEAs IRENA project which has put forward first indicator proposals for a wider European policy strategy targetting at agri-environmental assessments and the implementation of measures under Agenda 2000. Identifying indicators always means making selections and choices. Especially for landscapes with their wide range of characteristics this is certainly no easy task. In order to narrow these questions down, the EnRisk project follows the suggestions of the ELISA approach and focuses on the three main landscape attributes, namely diversity, coherence and openness/closedness. Data: at the European level, landscapes must be considered in comparison with biodiversity, soils and environmental themes as the biggest problem in terms of data availability. In the absence of landscape specific data on landscape natural and cultural elements (hedges, tree lines, cropping patterns, architectural sites, etc) and without sufficient backing on societal perception and preferences, European landscape assessments must rely heavily on surrogate information deriving from land cover, statistical information and remote sensing data. While establishing strong principles in terms of landscape references (the new European landscape typology and map) and landscape attributes, landscape risk assessment undertaken for EnRisk has been a rather top-down methodological approach producing a high degree of generalization and simplifications that can lead to misjudgements if the interpretation is not guided by additional expert knowledge. Within this project, not all attributes could be researched in the same way and emphasis was given to diversity. While the proposed methodology produces relatively reliable results for identifying areas of high and low landscape diversity, the dominant role of an imperfect land cover database and the difficulties to interprete the results without adequate policy information (e.g. preferences) must be considered as a weakness. Another problem is that landscape vulnerability is extremely difficult to define, mainly due to the absence of clearly defined and acknowledged thresholds. The work undertaken also demonstrated the limitations of expert-driven assessments instead of stakeholder-driven processes. In the future, landscape attribute assessment will need to involve other key data layers than land cover and needs to integrate (better) with other EnRisk assessments, especially on soils, biodiversity and pressures. Within the scope of the EnRisk project, the gaps and opportunities could only be highlighted in the case studies, but would require further development.

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Conclusions
Before listing the conclusions of the EnRisk project, the projects objectives are listed as a reminder:
investigating the role of risk assessment for five environmental themes (soil erosion, nutrient enrichment, pesticide use, biodiversity, landscape) as a tool for policy implementation; reviewing and interpreting existing environmental and socio-economic information and its effectiveness for policy objectives; identifying environmentally sensitive areas and risk zones in Europe; testing the reliability of European information for assessing sustainable agricultural land use by comparing it with regional case studies; providing recommendations for future assessments and policy implementation.

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In line with these objectives, the following conclusions can be drawn from the EnRisk project:
a methodology has been developed that combines multiple data layers with different resolution and accuracy at the European scale to assess risks posed by selected agricultural activities on environmental components.; with the current data quality at the European level, environmental risk zones can be located in a very coarse way with a high level of uncertainty. The approach developed in this project will allow for proper continent-wide risk assessment in the future, when more accurate and up-to-date environmental data become available. This is especially true for the topics of eutrophication, biodiversity and landscape; solid interpretation of risk maps requires accurate information on future scenarios in agricultural land use changes, which to date is lacking; agri-environmental indicators that have been developed in the ELISA project, at the level of EU or by the OECD, have proven to be a good starting point for risk assessment. The specific nature of environmental risk assessment required development of new (risk) indicators or customization of existing indicators; by using farm-level statistics on agricultural practices per region it is possible to interpret why areas are defined as environmental risk zones, which in turn provides a mechanism for taking policy measures; access to certain types of data is limiting the possibilities for policy-relevant analyses. This is for example the case for pesticide use data, individual pesticide properties are kept as confidential information and therefore prevent accurate risk assessments; since CLC is used as a basic layer for all of the EnRisk environmental themes, it is important to note that the land cover classes have been identified on the basis of satellite remote sensing. The resulting classes are therefore nonexclusive and not always accurate. The recent results of the CLC2000 project may increase the quality of these data;

species distribution data from the European biological atlases using a 50x50 km grid are not sufficiently accurate for continent-wide risk assessments. Although general assessments can be made, the data resolution and reliability does not allow for interpretation of risk regions with the precision required. For this purpose, it would be a high priority to survey European biodiversity at finer resolution; case studies have illustrated that, by using more fine-scale local or regional data, a more accurate delineation of risk zones is possible. The European wide assessment allowed identifying zones where a more detailed risk assessment is required.

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Recommendations
The project team recommends that:
With regard to agri-environmental measures:
the indicative maps of environmental risk areas in Europe should be interpreted as a confirmation of the severity of agricultural impacts on the environment across large parts of Europe; areas with high sensitivity and currently under low to medium pressures (mostly in new Member States) should be treated with high priority for conservation and for implementation of agri-environmental measures; areas with high pressures are highlighted on a European scale to alert to prime activities for mitigation: for soil erosion: southern and central Spain, parts of Italy and Greece; for nutrient enrichment: the Netherlands, northwest Germany and northern France; for pesticides: the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium), northwest Germany and south Germany;

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or biodiversity and landscapes: most new EU Member States and Eastern European countries, northern Germany, Greece and southern Spain; therefore, the increased concern for environmental matters in agricultural policy (CAP reform, Biodiversity Action Plan for agriculture, reinforced EU Rural Development policy) should be reflected through an undelayed implementation of the proposed actions; the implementation of agri-environmental measures should take into account the regional differentiation and the differences between environmental themes, as demonstrated in this report, as a basis for achieving improvements; an integrated approach in treating risks from agricultural practices on the environment is adopted. Such an approach could limit the risks of knock-on effects from different environmental themes; sustainability impact assessments should be undertaken as a standard practice for planned changes in agricultural land use at larger scales; livestock density is considered to be an indicator for the broader process of intensification of agriculture, rather than only for nutrient pollution.

international organizations responsible for European data collection and processing should continue and increase their cooperation in order to fully integrate biodiversity and environmental data at relevant scales; the EnRisk methodology should be further refined with new data sets, most notably land cover change data using the recent CLC 2000, in order to develop environmental risk indicators that can be applied at European as well as regional level; research efforts towards assessing risks to biodiversity should be increased. In this respect it is recommended that the Integrated Project ALARM (Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods, funded by the EUs Sixth Framework Programme) (UFZ, 2004) builds on the findings from EnRisk.

With regard to farming practices and their relation to environmental risks:


for biodiversity conservation, priority should be given to areas that are identified as highly sensitive because of the relatively low agricultural inputs and high value for biodiversity; soil protection measures to prevent soil loss by water erosion are in the first place required for areas with perennial crops. Examples for such measures are terracing, mulching or green cover between the rows (where sufficient water is available);

With regard to data:


increased effort should be put in to improving and updating European agricultural and environmental data sets with regards to their accuracy, scientific rigorousness, geographical coverage, accessibility, format and comparability; the indicators that have been developed by EnRisk should be used in related projects on agri-environmental relationships, such as the IRENA project and in the implementation of AEIs by OECD countries; an increased sampling effort to acquire representative biological data at sufficiently detailed taxonomic and spatial resolution including for highly indicative taxa currently not well represented in regular data collection, such as butterflies and plants should be supported and advocated by the responsible authorities;

semi-natural grasslands are treated with high priority because of the multiple pressures from agriculture (including practices such as conversion into crop, reseeding, drainage, abandonment, high fertilization, and high stocking densities) and their high value for biodiversity and landscape protection.

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177

Project participants
Mrs Paloma Fernndez Saudo & Mrs Teresa Gil Gil Contribution to biodiversity theme Environmental Research Centre of Madrid Region Government (CIAM) San Sebastin 71 28791 Soto Del Real (Madrid) Spain Dr Ir Anne Gobin Contribution to soil erosion theme Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven-LEG) Redingenstraat 16 3000 Leuven Belgium Mr Paul Goriup Contribution to biodiversity theme Fieldfare International Ecological Development plc 36 Kingfisher Court Hambridge Road RG14 5SJ Newbury United Kingdom Prof. Dr Dr h.c. mult. Winfried E.H. Blum, Dr Max Kuderna & Mrs Gabriele Wolkerstorfer Contribution to soil erosion theme Institute for Soil Research (IBF) Gregor Mendel Strasse 33 1180 Vienna Austria Dr Floor Brouwer & Mr Frans Godeschalk Contribution to nutient enrichment theme Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) PO Box 29703 2502 LS The Hague the Netherlands Mr Ben Delbaere, Mr Sebastiaan van t Erve & Mrs Ana Nieto Serradilla Contribution to biodiversity theme and project coordination European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) PO Box 90154 5000 LG Tilburg the Netherlands Mr Dirk Wascher Contribution to landscape theme Alterra - Green World Research PO Box 47 6700 AA Wageningen the Netherlands Dr Alan Pickaver Contribution to biodiversity theme EUCC The Coastal Union PO Box 11232 2301 EE Leiden the Netherlands Prof. Dr sc. nat. Volkmar Gutsche Contribution to pesticide theme Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA) Stahnsdorfer Damm 81 14532 Kleinmachnow Germany

178 Project participants

Dr Paul Williams Contribution to biodiversity theme The Natural History Museum (NHM) Cromwell Road SW7 5BD London United Kingdom Dr Christoph Zckler, Mrs Mary Edwards & Mr Matt Doughty Contribution to biodiversity theme and mapping UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) 219, Huntingdon Road CB3 0DL Cambridge United Kingdom

179

Acronyms
abr AEI ALARM APF ARI ASE BAP BBA CAP CAR CARMEN CBD CEC CEE CLC daNUbs DEFRA DEM DG DPSIR DSR EBCC EC EC ECBS ECNC EcoRA ECPA EEA EEC ELCAI ELISA ELPEN EnRisk acute biological risk Agri-Environmental Indicator Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods Area of fauna protection Pesticide Aquatic Risk Indicators Ecological sensitivity area Biodiversity Action Plan Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Common Agricultural Policy (EU) CAuse-effect Relation Model for the ENvironment CAuse-effect Relation Model for the ENvironment Convention on Biological Diversity Commission of the European Communities Central and Eastern Europe Corine Land Cover Nutrient Management of the Danube Basin and its impact on the Black Sea Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Digital elevation model Directorate-General Driving Force Pressure State Impact Response (monitoring framework EEA) Driving Force State Response (monitoring framework OECD) European Bird Census Council European Commission European Community European Community Biodiversity Strategy European Centre for Nature Conservation Ecological Risk Assessment European Crop Protection Association European Environment Agency European Economic Community European Landscape Character Assessment Initiative Environmental Indicators for Sustainable Agriculture European Livestock Policy Evaluation Network Environmental Risk Assessment for European Agriculture NOEC NUTS LFA LU LUCAS MMF MRLs MUSLE NDVI NIJOS JRC LEI IUCN INRA IRENA HNV IIASA FAO FAOSTAT FSS GDP GIS GLASOD GMO GTOPO HAIR FAIR EUROSTAT FADN EU EUCC ERA ESB ESDP ETC/TE Environmental Risk Assessment European Soil Bureau European Spatial Development Perspective European Topic Centre on Terrestrial Environment (EEA) European Union the Coastal Union (formerly European Union for Coastal Conservation) European Statistical Office Farm Accountancy Data Network Farm Accountancy Data Network Agriculture and Fisheries Programme under the EU 4th Framework Programme Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN) FAO Statistical Databases Farm Structure Survey Gross Domestic Product Geographic Information System Global Assessment of Soil Degradation Genetically Modified Organism Global topography programme HArmonised Environmental Indicators for Pesticide Risk (EU-funded project) High Nature Value International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Indicator Reporting on the Integration of Environmental Concerns into Agriculture Policy International Union for the Conservation of Nature (The World Conservation Union) Joint Research Centre (EC) Agricultural Economics Research Institute (the Netherlands) Less Favoured Area Livestock Unit Land Use/Cover Area-frame Survey Morgan Morgan Finney erosion model Maximum Residue Levels Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation Normalized Difference Vegetation Index Norsk institutt for jord- og skogkartlegging (Norwegian Institute of Land Inventory) No Observed Effect Concentration Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics

180 Acronyms

OECD Pe PEBLDS PELCOM PESERA PPPs RAINS REGIO REXTOX RIVM

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Population equivalents Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy PanEuropean Land Use and Land cover Monitoring Pan-European Soil Erosion Risk Assessment Plant protection products Regional Air Pollution INformation and Simulation model European regional statistics database (Eurostat) Ratio of EXposure to TOXicity (indicator) Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (Dutch Institute for Public Health and the Environment)

RUSLE SDR SEH SMUs SPEC sPEC STUs SWAT SYNOPS UAA UFZ UNEP UNESCO UUA USLE UTM UK WCPA WTO

Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation Sediment delivery ratio Societas Europaea Herpetologica Soil Mapping Units Species of European Conservation Concern short-term predicted environmental concentration index Soil Type Units Soil & Water Assessment Tool Synoptisches bewertungsmodell fur pflanzenschutzmittel Utilised Agricultural Area Umweltforschungszentrum (Centre for Environmental Research, Germany) United Nations Environment Programme United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Utilized Agricultural Area Universal Soil Loss Equation Universal Transverse Mercator United Kingdom World Commission on Protected Areas World Trade Organization

UNEP-WCMC UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre

181

Annexes
The annexes to this report can be downloaded from the ECNC website: www.ecnc.org They contain the following figures and tables: Figure A1: Nitrogen vulnerability areas in Europe (Source: ELPEN project) Figure A2: Total N-concentration in mg/l at river estuary as calculated by CARMEN model in 1990 (Source: RIVM) Figure A3: Share of nitrogen concentration in 1990 (mg/l) that comes from agricultural sources as calculated by CARMEN model (Source: RIVM) Figure A4: Total nitrogen concentration in 1998 (mg/l) based on FAO data for EU15 (Source: RIVM) Figure A5: Share of nitrogen concentration in 1998 (mg/l) coming from agricultural sources, based on FAO data for EU 15 (Source: RIVM) Figure A6: Total N-concentration in mg/l at river estuary as calculated by CARMEN model in 1998 (Source: RIVM) Figure A7: Share of nitrogen concentration in 1998 (mg/l) that comes from agricultural sources as calculated by CARMEN model (Source: RIVM) Figure A8: Phosphorus concentration in 1990 (mg/l) as calculated by CARMEN model (Source: RIVM) Figure A9: Share of phosphorus concentration in 1990 (mg/l) coming from agricultural sources as calculated by CARMEN model (Source: RIVM) Figure A10: Terrestrial risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops as calculated by SYNOPS model. Dark shades indicate high levels of risk, lighter shades indicate low risk level Figure A11: Aquatic risk caused by pesticide use in perennial crops as calculated by SYNOPS model. Dark shades indicate high levels of risk, lighter shades indicate low risk level Table A1: Comparison of population data by country (number of inhabitants * 1000) (Source: RIVM) Table A2: Data on wastewater treatment for the years 1990 and 1999 (Source: RIVM) Table A3: Number of pesticide use records in 19921999 that serve as input data for the risk assessment model SYNOPS. Cases where less than 10 records could be used are marked with shades Table A4: Summarized pesticide use data for the Lamspringe case study Table A5: Results from the mixed week-samples 19951999 Table A6: Results from the event-controlled day-sampler

182 Annexes / Thank you

Thank you
The editors and project team would like to thank those people that have contributed to the results presented in this report. Particular thanks goes to the members of the EnRisk steering group: Ben Delbaere (ECNC), Koen Duchateau (Eurostat), Mara Fuentes (EC DG Agriculture), Dr Luca Montanarella (JRC), Kevin Parris (OECD), Dr Jan-Erik Petersen (EEA), Dr Christoph Zckler (UNEP-WCMC). Many thanks to those people that have provided information and access to data, images and photographs: Juha-Markku Leppnen, Ann-Britt Andersin, Lotta Ruokanen, Rafael Borrego Gutirrez, Cosme Morillo, Fernando Esteban Moratilla, Jorge Luis Enriquez Salgueiro, Jos Luis Linares, Mara Luisa Durn Hernndez-Mora, Luca Huertas, Manuel Erena Arrabal, Marcelo Martnez Palao and Dr M. Frost. Also thank you to Sandra Rientjes and Peter Nowicki from ECNC for proofreading this report and to colleagues Bas van tErve, Glynis van Uden, Britte Schuur and Frans Ghering for their support to the project.

183

Colophon
Design Elske Verharen x-hoogte, Tilburg Print Drukkerij Groels, Tilburg Photos Christoph Zckler: page 108, 116
Gabriele Wolkerstorfer: page 99, 104, 121, 126 Ganzelmeier: cover, page 52 Finnish Institute of Marine Research/Riku Lumiaro: page 137 Photo Disk: page 4 Saxifraga Foundation/Ben Delbaere: page 97 Saxifraga Foundation/Janus Verkerk: page 62 Saxifraga Foundation/Jan van der Straaten: page 12, 14, 21, 30, 44, 75, 81, 91, 95, 114, 156, 168, 178 Saxifraga Foundation/Jules Philippona: page 164 Volkmar Gutsche: page 132 Wil Peters: page 149

Maps EnRisk project team and individuals from project


partners for thematic maps. ISBN 90-76762-17-1

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