ALARM Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods
| Country: EU Projects
| Start Date:
Project Type: RTD
| Contract Number: GOCE-CT-2003-506675
| Organisation Type:
Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Geographical information systems
Diffuse pollution-->Contaminants-->Persistent Organic Pollutants
Diffuse pollution-->Diffuse pollution overview
Water resources and their management -->Stresses, quality and ecological status
| Project objectives:
To develop an integrated large scale risk assessment for biodiversity as well as terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems as a part of environmental risk assessment.
To focus on risks consequent on climate change, environmental chemicals, rates and extent of loss of pollinators and biological invasions.
To establish socio-economic risk indicators related to the drivers of biodiversity pressures as a tool to support long-term oriented mitigating policies
and to monitor their implementation.
To develop, for the first time, a research network that is consistently thinking, interacting, and investigating on a continental scale across different
environmental problems (impacts) and across different spatial and temporal scales of ecosystem diversity changes.
To provide a contribution to objective based politics, to policy integration and to derive outcome-oriented policy measures in the field of biodiversity
preservation by contributing to the integrated assessment of socio-economic drivers affecting biodiversity and integrated, long-term oriented means
to mitigate them.
The ALARM (Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested
Methods) Project aims to develop and test methods for the assessment of
large-scale environmental risks. Within this project researchers have
developed a tool to assess the risk to water from pesticide
contamination. Pesticides (a collective term for insecticides,
herbicides and fungicides) can enter surface- and ground-water as a
result of runoff from crops or due to spray drift during pesticide
applications. In a case study, using a Geographic Information System
(GIS)-approach, researchers investigated the risk of water
contamination and of four different herbicides and one insecticide in
Italy's Lombardia region. GIS is a computerised system that analyses
data and displays it in map form.
| Achieved Objectives:
Risk maps were produced by calculating predicted environmental
concentrations (PEC) of pesticides, due to runoff or drift, and
quantifying risk by assigning values to the effects of exposing a
variety of aquatic organisms to the pesticides. Values varied depending
on the ability of each species to recover from exposure.
A measure of aquatic 'ecological quality' was estimated using the
Extended Biotic Index (EBI). Specifically designed for organic
pollution and oxygen depletion, the EBI gives an indication of
ecological quality by examining the variety and numbers of insects,
crustaceans, molluscs and worms, living at the lowest level of a water
body (the 'Benthic zone').
These data were integrated in the GIS, along with land-use information,
geographical distribution of pesticides (via runoff or drift) and
hydrology3 data. This produced maps that used colours to indicate which
water bodies in the region were at most risk from contamination. Areas
at risk changed depending on the chemical and ecotoxicological
properties of each pesticide.
| Product Descriptions:
A new computerised tool helps regulators identify water sources at risk
of pesticide contamination. The tool can be used to produce maps
indicating water bodies at risk of contamination by taking into
account: adjacent land-use, the concentration of pesticides in the
environment and biological indicators of contamination.
| Additional Information:
| Project Resources:
GIS-based procedure for site-specific risk assessment of pesticides for aquatic ecosystems
| Funding Programme(s):
EC Framework Programme 6
| Link to Organisations:
Professor Paul Bardos
Who does what?