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PARENT SESSION

TP12B Ecological Effects of Cholinesterase Inhibitors
B115 & B116
1:20 PM - 4:40 PM, Tuesday

() The lethal risk from insecticide use and trends of grassland bird populations in the U.S.

Mineau, P.1, Whiteside, M.1, 1 National Wildlife Research Centre, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT- A database of insecticide use was compiled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), the National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy (NCFAP) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for 1992 and 1997. The database comprises 48 States, 85 crops and 70 insecticide active ingredients (a.i.), most of which were organophosphorus and carbamate compounds. For each State/crop/a.i. combination, the average reported rate of application was used to predict the proportion of crop area on which avian mortality was deemed to have occurred. For this determination, we used published field based-models that predict the likelihood of avian mortality for each insecticide application from avian acute sensitivity distribution data scaled to bodyweight, application rate and several physico-chemical properties of the insecticide (Mineau, P. 2002, ET&C 21(7):1497-1506). Based on the 1997 data, the crops most likely to sustain bird mortality without regard to total acreage or bird frequentation were, in descending order: Brussels sprouts, celery, cranberries, cauliflower, apples, sweet potatoes, cotton and cabbage. When crop acreage was factored in, the crops in which bird loss was potentially the highest were: cotton and corn, followed more distantly by alfalfa, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, sugar beets and potatoes. We then combined the bird risk on all crops and active ingredients to arrive at a State-wide risk index expressed as the proportion of all farmland sustaining bird mortality. The State-wide indices for 1992 were then regressed logistically against significant Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trends for grassland birds based on 1980-2002 route estimates. The proportion of farmland with mortality risk was a significant predictor of breeding bird declines. Other predictor variables such as crop intensification or herbicide use were not significant. This suggests that, in the U.S. at least, insecticide use, especially the use of acutely toxic cholinesterase-inhibiting products have contributed to widespread grassland bird declines.

Key words: mortality, bird, U.S., insecticide


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