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Lack of scientific evidence and precautionary principle in massive release of rodenticides threatens biodiversity: old lessons need new reflections

AutorOlea, Pedro P.; Sánchez-Barbudo, Inés S. ; Viñuela, Javier ; Barja, Isabel; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia ; Piñeiro, Ana; Mateo, Rafael ; Purroy, Francisco J.
Palabras clavePesticides
Precautionary principle
Rodent plague control
Fecha de publicación25-feb-2009
EditorCambridge University Press
Foundation for Environmental Conservation
CitaciónEnvironmental Conservation (2009), doi: 10.1017/S0376892909005323
ResumenPesticides are widely used throughout the world to control agricultural pests (Berny 2007). Owing to their well identified side-effects on wildlife (see for example Newton et al. 2000; Brakes & Smith 2005), the release of high quantities of pesticides to the environment should always require responsible use of both science-based information and the precautionary principle (Mason & Littin 2003). However, decision making in wildlife management and conservation is not systematically supported by scientific evidence (Pullin & Knight 2005). This is particularly worrying when decision making involves release of toxic substances to the environment, as often occurs in rodent plague control. Here we describe how poorly-informed management decisions to control a rodent plague can adversely affect wildlife, especially when chemical-based treatments are generically designed and applied on a broad scale, and discuss the high economic cost of such campaigns. We urge the implementation of a more cost-effective evidence-based and environmentally sustainable management to control rodent plagues in Spain. Cases similar to those reported here occurred in the UK a century ago, and throughout Europe in the 1950s (Elton 1942; Chitty 1996). Although abundant scientific information has since been generated about vole cyclic population dynamics and rodent plague control techniques in the world, lessons have apparently not been learned.
Descripción4 pages, 1 figure, 1 table.-- Article in press.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0376892909005323
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