101 Gone with the wind Pesticides can spread kilometres The Wilmersdorf farm is located in the middle of the Schorfheide Chorin UNESCO biosphere reserve in the north of the German state of Branden burg Measuring some 130 000 hectares the biosphere reserve is one of the largest nature conservation areas in Germany An ideal location for organic farming That s why it was such a mystery when herbicide residues were de tected in the organically grown fennel there were no industrial farms in the immediate vicinity from which the herbicides could drift over To find out the reason for the contamination in 2014 the Brandenburg State Office of Environment Health and Consumer Protection asked researchers from the TIEM Team Integrated Environmental Monitoring association to analyse the air quality and the bark of trees in the surrounding area The findings showed that the herbicide found in the fennel evaporates when ap plied it remains in the air for weeks and can be carried long distances by thermals and winds TIEM continued its research and in 2019 published the Tree Bark Study commissioned by the Bündnis für eine Enkeltaugliche Landwirtschaft Alli ance for Agriculture for Our Grandchildren Carried out between 2014 and 2018 this was the most comprehensive study in Germany to date on the air borne spread of pesticides It confirmed the previous findings from Branden burg Pesticide contamination was found at all 47 sites that the study looked at in agricultural regions in urban areas in nature reserves The researches found a total of 107 substances in a variety of combinations The recent study shows how fundamentally difficult it is for non organic and organic agriculture to coexist When residues can turn up everywhere due to long distance pesticide drift organic farmers have a problem Agreements between neighbours or protective strips between adjacent fields won t help And there is no way of applying for compensation because there is no way of knowing who caused the problem in the first place It is an insupportable state of affairs that the monitoring of active pesticide substances in the air was discontinued in 2003 for cost reasons especially since organic farmers will be out of pocket if they are no longer able to sell the products they cultivated at higher costs as organic Thought also should be given to an authorisation system for pesticides that can spread over long dis tances It is unacceptable that organic farmers have to pay the price for their non organic colleagues use of pesticides High quality work

Vorschau Sustainability Report 2019 Seite 103
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