Chemicalisation of agriculture and the protection of biodiversity (e.g. pollinators, aquatic organisms, birds)

By protecting biodiversity – including beneficial insects, aquatic organisms, soil invertebrates, small mammals and birds – we simultaneously protect the crop, the environment and increase our profits.

Integrated pest management does not exclude the use of chemicals, but they should only be used when other methods are insufficient to safeguard crop yield and quality. Decisions on the use of chemical plant protection products should be based on monitoring the presence of harmful organisms, taking into account their economic damage thresholds. The use of plant protection products should be optimised, limited to the minimum necessary, as consciously and deliberately carrying out only essential treatments. The selection of plant protection products should also take into account their selectivity, protecting non-target species from losses.

Example definition of damage thresholds (according to CDR Brwinów):

Weed speciesNumber of weeds (units/m²) constituting threshold of harmfulness
Field mustard2.0
Scentless false mayweed3.0-6.0
Common windgrass10.0-15.0
Field thistle0.1-2.0
Common wild oat5.0

Preparations – only those registered for the crop being protected – must be used rationally, at optimum doses, control dates and weather conditions to ensure their high efficacy. Related to chemical protection is the care of beneficial organisms such as parasitic and predatory insect species. Even if they cannot continuously reduce crop pests, they are an important part of crop pest control and regulating the intensity of their emergence. Another group of beneficial insects that need to be protected when using chemical crop protection methods are pollinators, i.e. various bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, flies and many others. These beneficial insects play an extremely important role in the human economy and food production. It is worth recognising their place in the whole agricultural environment, where they contribute to the richness of the animate world, not only in agricultural fields. There are strong intrinsic linkages in this world, which contribute to a dynamic balance in the abundance of individual species. When choosing the timing, areas and technique of plant protection treatments, the actual risk of these treatments for aquatic organisms and birds must also be borne in mind.