Canadian Forest Service Publications

A silviculture application of the glyphosate-based herbicide Visionmax to wetlands has limited direct effects on amphibian larvae. 2012. Edge, C.B.; Thompson, D.G.; Hao, C.; Houlahan, J.E. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31:2375-2383.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34075

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1002/etc.1956

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—Herbicides are commonly used in agriculture and silviculture to reduce interspecific competition among plants and thereby enhance crop growth, quality, and volume. Internationally, glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely used herbicides in both of these sectors. Laboratory and mesocosm studies have demonstrated that some formulations are toxic to amphibian larvae below concentrations that approximate predicted maximal or ‘‘worst-case’’ exposure scenarios. However, field studies have not found evidence of toxicity at these concentrations. The authors conducted a replicated field experiment involving 10 naturalized wetlands split in half with an impermeable plastic barrier to assess the direct toxicity of a glyphosate formulation commonly used in silviculture (VisionMAXTM). The herbicide formulation was applied directly to the surface of one side of each wetland at one of two target aqueous exposure rates (high¼2,880, low¼550 mg acid equivalents [a.e.]/L), and the other side was left as an untreated control. The survival and growth of green frog larvae (Lithobates clamitans) were assessed for two years following herbicide treatment. The herbicide did not have a negative impact on survival or growth of L. clamitans larvae at either treatment level. In fact, mean larval abundance was typically greater in the treated sides than in control sides within the year of herbicide application. These results indicate that typical silviculture use of VisionMAX poses negligible risk to larval amphibians, likely because the combined effects of sorption and degradation in natural wetlands limit the exposure magnitude and duration.