Wildlife Ecotoxicology of Pesticides: Can We Track Effects to the Population Level and Beyond?

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Science  16 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6147, pp. 759-765
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237591

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During the past 50 years, the human population has more than doubled and global agricultural production has similarly risen. However, the productive arable area has increased by just 10%; thus the increased use of pesticides has been a consequence of the demands of human population growth, and its impact has reached global significance. Although we often know a pesticide′s mode of action in the target species, we still largely do not understand the full impact of unintended side effects on wildlife, particularly at higher levels of biological organization: populations, communities, and ecosystems. In these times of regional and global species declines, we are challenged with the task of causally linking knowledge about the molecular actions of pesticides to their possible interference with biological processes, in order to develop reliable predictions about the consequences of pesticide use, and misuse, in a rapidly changing world.

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