Over 30 pesticides found in Drenthe nature reserves

Walking path in Dwingelderveld
Walking path in DwingelderveldKloeg008DepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Research by citizens' initiative Meten=Weten found 31 different pesticides, biocides and degradation products used in agriculture in nature reserves and national parks in Drenthe. Only 20 of the products found are authorized for use in the Netherlands, RTV Drenthe reports.

The researchers took plant samples at 17 different nature areas and manure samples at six and tested them for different pesticides. The samples were taken from the edge of the nature reserve towards the center. The researchers had expected that the concentration of pesticides would decrease as the samples moved further away from agricultural areas, but this did not turn out to be the case. They found pesticides into the heart of the reserves.

The studied areas are Benderseweg in Dwingelderveld, Wasperveld and Leggelderveld in Drents-Friese Wold, and Uffelterveen in Holtingerveld. All but one of these are Natura 2000 areas or national parks. All of them have been managed as nature areas for decades. 

Nature conservation organizations Natuurmonumenten and Het Drentse Landschap are shocked by the results. They called on Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to urgently order in-depth research into this.

"It is frightening to see that a cocktail of pesticides is found in the middle of our nature. Those substances do not belong there," Ruud Kreetz, area manager of Natuurmonumenten in Drenthe, said to the broadcaster. According to him, long-term research on ground beetles in Dwingelderveld showed that their population decreased by almost 80 percent. "The exact reason for this decline is not clear, but I am shocked when I see that some pesticides travel a great distance and cannot be held back by a buffer of forest."