Full Fauna Field Studies

Applications of plant protection products should not unacceptably affect non-target arthropods communities. A field study on arthropod communities under real conditions of agricultural practice (in-crop) or alternatively in an off crop situation is indicated if laboratory studies as well higher tier studies cannot sufficiently prove harmlessness on non-target arthropods. Test item related effects are analysed both on single species level and on arthropods community level.

Study Design

Tailor-made study design

Depending on whether the full fauna study is conducted as an in crop or an off crop field study the study design is different:

  In crop Off crop
crop arable crop, grape vine, orchards grassland
field size up to 1ha per plot 0.06 ha per plot
treatment groups maximum field rates, drift rates, control, toxic reference dose response design: 5 test item dose rates, control, toxic reference
spray. equipment field sprayer movable plot sprayer
duration up to 1 year 2-3 months


Data collection

This type of study requires an intensive sampling of the arthropd taxa using different sampling methods to collect the arthropods living in different strata of the habitat.

Sampling methods Target
pitfall traps soil dwellers
Mac Fayden heat extraction of soil cores litter and top soil
aspirator, ground photo-eclector, Berlese funnel plant / litter

Target taxa

Desired taxa and level of taxonomic precision depends on study design and sampling methods which will be adapted to the aim of the respective study. The choice of target taxa and level of taxonomic precision is in accordance with (de Jong et al. 2010).

Course of the test

1-5 days before the test item application date different sampling methods are used to sample soil living, plant dwelling and soil surface active arthropods from the naturally occurring populations of the test site. Subsequently, the application is carried out according to the Good Agricultural Practice. Afterwards the same sampling methods are used on ca. 3-6 sampling occassions in order to evaluate the effects of the test item on the arthropod populations and to determine NOEL on single taxa and community level.

Data evaluation

Evaluation of the treatment effect on single taxon level is done by using Abbott’s formula for all representative taxa at each sampling instance. Statistical analysis will be performed by using univariate techniques (e.g. Williams` test). Evaluation of the treatment effect on arthropod community level is done by performing a principal response curve (PRC) analysis.


The in crop full fauna study accepts initial test item effects and focuses on the timespan which is necessary to demonstrate recovery. Recovery is considered to have occurred when arthropod numbers are not significantly lower than the control on two consecutive sampling occasions. The off crop study is aimed at finding the NOEL (no observed effect level).

Guidelines and Literature

  • De Jong F M W, Bakker F M, Brown K, Jilsen C J T J, Posthuma-Doodeman C J A M, Smit C E, Van Der Steen J J M, Van Eekelen G M A (2010): Guidance for summarising and evaluating field studies with non-target arthropods. A guidance document of the Dutch Platform for the assessment of higher tier studies. RIVM 2010.
  • Alix A, Bakker F, Barrett K, Brühl C A, Coulson M, Hoy S, Jansen J P, Jepson P, Lewis G, Neumann P, Süßenbach D, van Vliet P (eds.): ESCORT 3: Linking Non-Target Arthropod Testing and Risk Assessment with Protection Goals. CRC SETAC Press.