Special: Pesticide reduction

Towards a reduction of pesticide use in cropping systems

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Only invited submissions are accepted for this issue. Publication scheduled for November 2023.

Plant protection in agriculture is one cornerstone of cropping systems to avoid yield losses by pests, disease and weeds, both in organic and conventional systems. Although preventive cultural, physical, biological, biophysical methods or prognosis and forecasting systems should be used in the first place, until now chemical pesticides are the most important plant protection measure in many crops. Pesticide use remains on a high level with reported undesired effects for the environment. To address these shortcomings, the European Commission has formulated ambitious aims for the reduction of pesticide use and risks by 50% until 2030 within the F2F-Strategy. Moreover, these aims have been included into the recently published draft of the Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR [1]).

Research has addressed the reduction of pesticide use since many years and new approaches for alternative methods are being developed and are combined in strategies. However, often results are scattered and mostly, have not yet been presented in a holistic manner. Questions on quantitative and qualitative aspects of pesticide savings and their associated impacts are difficult to answer. With this journal issue, we intend to bring together the most recent scientific results on existing and prospective potential of pesticide use and risk reduction in existing and innovative cropping systems including new alternative plant protection strategies, their availability and potential, or strategies for the complete avoidance of pesticide use. In addition, for a more holistic analysis, effects on economic viability of crop production will be considered. For providing a rather comprehensive picture for one area of production, we put a focus on arable crops, but articles should also look beyond.

[1] REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the sustainable use of plant protection products and amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115


Guest Editor of this issue


Dr. Hella Kehlenbeck is head of the Institute for Strategies and Technology Assessment at the Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants. With her team, she develops concepts for integrated crop cultivation and organic farming. The efficient use of resources, sufficient food and feed production, conservation and enhancement of biodiversity are examined as well as economic aspects and the social challenges related to sustainable agriculture.