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HA9 Ecological Risk Assessment: General Perspectives and Case Studies
() Do the European environmental risk assessment protocols provide enough protection for ecologically valuable areas?
Macedo-Sousa, J.1, Tarazona, J.2, Soares, A.1, 1 Department of Biology. University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal2 Department of Environment, INIA, Madrid, Spain
ABSTRACT- The utilization in Europe of chemicals by human activities is regulated by several pieces of legislation implemented through guidance documents. But in most cases the risk assessment protocols proposed by the EC are generic models that do not take into account regional and local specificities. The Iberian Peninsula comprises about 50% of the European biodiversity, being more than 20% of this territory classified as protected area. The Mediterranean region is considered a biodiversity hot spot in terms of species richness including richness in endemic species. Current protocols include possibilities for local risk refinement, e.g. considering physical-chemical or landscape characteristics, but the possibilities for addressing the biology of the exposed community have not been explored. This paper presents alternatives to generic risk assessment protocols for: (1) covering different levels of protection according to the biodiversity relevance; (2) allowing higher tier refinements based on biotic parameters, trough innovative conceptual models and exposure scenarios; (3) and permitting specific assessments for protected areas, adapted to the ecological values of each specific area. The utilization of risk assessment procedures within protected areas will be discussed ranking 4 levels of protection: specific habitats, specific ecosystems, individual species; and an overall protection combining several of the previous levels.
Key words: risk assessment, biodiversity, protected areas, level of protection
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