ALARM Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks with tested Methods

Country: EU Projects
Start Date:   1/2/2004         Duration: 60 months         Project Type: RTD
Contract Number: GOCE-CT-2003-506675
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Geographical information systems
Diffuse pollution-->Contaminants-->Persistent Organic Pollutants
Diffuse pollution-->Diffuse pollution overview
Diffuse pollution-->Sources
Soil-->Soil quality
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.
Project Summary:
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:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  18/04/2008 15:28:00