Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 11:3 (2015), pp. 348–354.

doi: 10.1002/ieam.1628


This document is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


This brief communication reports on the main findings and recommendations from the 2014 Science Forum organized by CropLife America. The aim of the forum was to gain a better understanding of the current status of population models and how they could be used in ecological risk assessments for threatened and endangered species potentially exposed to pesticides in the United States. The forum panelists' recommendations are intended to assist the relevant government agencies with implementation of population modeling in future endangered species risk assessments for pesticides. The forum included keynote presentations that provided an overview of current practices, highlighted the findings of a recent National Academy of Sciences report and its implications, reviewed the main categories of existing population models and the types of risk expressions that can be produced as model outputs, and provided examples of how population models are currently being used in different legislative contexts. The panel concluded that models developed for listed species assessments should provide quantitative risk estimates, incorporate realistic variability in environmental and demographic factors, integrate complex patterns of exposure and effects, and use baseline conditions that include present factors that have caused the species to be listed (e.g., habitat loss, invasive species) or have resulted in positive management action. Furthermore, the panel advocates for the formation of a multipartite advisory committee to provide best available knowledge and guidance related to model implementation and use, to address such needs as more systematic collection, digitization, and dissemination of data for listed species; consideration of the newest developments in good modeling practice; comprehensive review of existing population models and their applicability for listed species assessments; and development of case studies using a few well-tested models for particular species to demonstrate proof of concept. To advance our common goals, the panel recommends the following as important areas for further research and development: quantitative analysis of the causes of species listings to guide model development; systematic assessment of the relative role of toxicity versus other factors in driving pesticide risk; additional study of how interactions between density dependence and pesticides influence risk; and development of pragmatic approaches to assessing indirect effects of pesticides on listed species.

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