New Additions Funding Opportunities Projects Affiliated Centers Integrated Pest Management Research Publications

Testing environmental indicator models for IPM

Grant Recipient:

American Farmland Trust

Project Period:

1998 - 2003

Principal Investigator:

Esther Day and Thomas Greitens


APLS paper _Greitens.doc (61.5 KB)
Environmental Indicator Model Summary.doc (31.5 KB)
EPA Paper1 Environmental Indicators March 2002.doc (162.5 KB)
Environmental Indicator Models EPA and USDA Presentation summary.doc (20 KB)
EnvironmentalIndicators2.doc (75 KB)
June 2000 Summary of Environmental Indicator Work.doc (22.5 KB)
IPM Impact and Assessment Proceedings.pdf (317.53 KB)
IPM Workshop Proceedings.pdf (6.88 MB)

The project has collected and is analyzing 16 different environmental indicator models developed by U.S. researchers and international experts. The systems are designed to measure potential environmental impacts as producers reduce their pesticide use or switch to different pesticides. They calculate potential risk to the environment and human health by assessing the effects of pesticides on soil, ground and surface water, beneficial organisms, air, and, to some extent, human exposure. They do not factor in the cost and efficacy of pesticides which are often the determining factors for producers. The systems also approach the question of "risk" in different ways. The idea of using models to track environmental impacts is advancing most rapidly in Europe where models developed by eight European countries may be used to set policies for GATT, CAP and the European Agenda 2000. The systems are also being used to justify eco-labels. Although a few have been tested using theoretical data, this is the first attempt to run the models with actual field data collected by farmers. We will determine if the systems produce similar results, if they can be easily used as decision aids by farmers and if we can factor in the economics of pesticide use into the systems

Project goals and objectives
1). Determine which environmental indicator models are appropriate for IPM.
2). Run the models using actual field data.
3). Factor in the economics of pesticide use if feasible.

1997: Literature Review.
1998: Two day International Workshop on Environmental Indicators. June 1998. Chicago, Illinois
1998: Begin to collect raw data from farmers to test in models
1999: Present information about our work at the IPM Technology Conference in North Carolina and CAPER Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
1999: Reconstruct models from the literature and conversations and correspondence with researchers who have developed them.
1999: Deliver report to EPA on 16 environmental indicator models, November 1999.
2000: Collect farm field data from WA, WI and FL
2000: July. Update EPA on results. Add economic information to WI eco-potato toxicity model.
2001: Run models

In June 1998, we held a workshop on environmental indicator systems in Chicago. The proceedings are available at: Since 1999, we have been collecting actual field data on pesticide use from farmers and have reconstructed each model from the literature and from conversations and correspondence with the researchers who have developed them. We have also collected and entered information about pesticides into spreadsheets (e.g. half life data, cancer potency index data, soil adsorption data, etc.). The models also require site-specific information to be entered such as temperature, wind speed, distance to water bodies, canopy measurements and soil types. In a concurrent project, we have added economic calculations to one of the environmental indicator models (Wisconsin potato project). We are now running the models with field collected data and plan on reporting results at an OECD meeting in Copenhagen in November 2001.

American Farmland Trust