The PROTECTS Project (2018-2022)
Pesticide use is an important component of modern farming. Increasingly there is a need to ensure we farm in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way, and sustainable pesticide use forms an integral part of this vision. However, concerns exist regarding impacts of pesticides on non-target organisms and the ecosystem services they are in turn providing to agriculture. The PROTECTS (Protecting Ecosystem Services Through Sustainable Pesticide Use) project will provide baseline information in an Irish context to build towards mitigating the effects of pesticide use on terrestrial ecosystem services, focusing on pollinators and soils. We will survey pesticide residues in soils and nectar, investigate the potential hazards of pesticide use in an Irish context for bees, and provide recommendations for a soil monitoring programme and how to mitigate any effects on ecosystem services to ensure their continued provision to agriculture. Our findings will help to ensure that pesticides can be used safely while protecting wildlife, health and the environment, both in Ireland and internationally.