Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–25 | Cite as

Landscape-scale distribution and persistence of genetically modified oilseed rape (Brassica napus) in Manitoba, Canada

IMPLICATIONS OF GM-CROP CULTIVATION • SERIES • RESEARCH ARTICLE

Abstract

Background, aim and scope

Genetically modified herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) oilseed rape (OSR; Brassica napus L.) was approved for commercial cultivation in Canada in 1995 and currently represents over 95% of the OSR grown in western Canada. After a decade of widespread cultivation, GMHT volunteers represent an increasing management problem in cultivated fields and are ubiquitous in adjacent ruderal habitats, where they contribute to the spread of transgenes. However, few studies have considered escaped GMHT OSR populations in North America, and even fewer have been conducted at large spatial scales (i.e. landscape scales). In particular, the contribution of landscape structure and large-scale anthropogenic dispersal processes to the persistence and spread of escaped GMHT OSR remains poorly understood. We conducted a multi-year survey of the landscape-scale distribution of escaped OSR plants adjacent to roads and cultivated fields. Our objective was to examine the long-term dynamics of escaped OSR at large spatial scales and to assess the relative importance of landscape and localised factors to the persistence and spread of these plants outside of cultivation.

Materials and methods

From 2005 to 2007, we surveyed escaped OSR plants along roadsides and field edges at 12 locations in three agricultural landscapes in southern Manitoba where GMHT OSR is widely grown. Data were analysed to examine temporal changes at large spatial scales and to determine factors affecting the distribution of escaped OSR plants in roadside and field edge habitats within agricultural landscapes. Additionally, we assessed the potential for seed dispersal between escaped populations by comparing the relative spatial distribution of roadside and field edge OSR.

Results

Densities of escaped OSR fluctuated over space and time in both roadside and field edge habitats, though the proportion of GMHT plants was high (93–100%). Escaped OSR was positively affected by agricultural landscape (indicative of cropping intensity) and by the presence of an adjacent field planted to OSR. Within roadside habitats, escaped OSR was also strongly associated with large-scale variables, including road surface (indicative of traffic intensity) and distance to the nearest grain elevator. Conversely, within field edges, OSR density was affected by localised crop management practices such as mowing, soil disturbance and herbicide application. Despite the proximity of roadsides and field edges, there was little evidence of spatial aggregation among escaped OSR populations in these two habitats, especially at very fine spatial scales (i.e. <100 m), suggesting that natural propagule exchange is infrequent.

Discussion

Escaped OSR populations were persistent at large spatial and temporal scales, and low density in a given landscape or year was not indicative of overall extinction. As a result of ongoing cultivation and transport of OSR crops, escaped GMHT traits will likely remain predominant in agricultural landscapes. While escaped OSR in field edge habitats generally results from local seeding and management activities occurring at the field-scale, distribution patterns within roadside habitats are determined in large part by seed transport occurring at the landscape scale and at even larger regional scales. Our findings suggest that these large-scale anthropogenic dispersal processes are sufficient to enable persistence despite limited natural seed dispersal. This widespread dispersal is likely to undermine field-scale management practices aimed at eliminating escaped and in-field GMHT OSR populations.

Conclusions

Agricultural transport and landscape-scale cropping patterns are important determinants of the distribution of escaped GM crops. At the regional level, these factors ensure ongoing establishment and spread of escaped GMHT OSR despite limited local seed dispersal. Escaped populations thus play an important role in the spread of transgenes and have substantial implications for the coexistence of GM and non-GM production systems.

Recommendations and perspectives

Given the large-scale factors driving the spread of escaped transgenes, localised co-existence measures may be impracticable where they are not commensurate with regional dispersal mechanisms. To be effective, strategies aimed at reducing contamination from GM crops should be multi-scale in approach and be developed and implemented at both farm and landscape levels of organisation. Multiple stakeholders should thus be consulted, including both GM and non-GM farmers, as well as seed developers, processors, transporters and suppliers. Decisions to adopt GM crops require thoughtful and inclusive consideration of the risks and responsibilities inherent in this new technology.

Keywords

Brassica napus Dispersal Gene flow Genetically modified (GM) Herbicide-tolerant (HT) Landscape Metapopulation Oilseed rape (OSR) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Nadine Haalboom, Brad Kennedy, Allison Krause, Sarah Ramey and Dave Vasey for their invaluable assistance in the field, and Roger Bivand, Mathieu Maheu-Giroux and David Walker for statistical guidance. Project funding was provided by Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants to S.M., as well as by Manitoba Conservation. Scholarship support to A.K. was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Graduate Students Association at the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Conservation.

References

  1. Allison PD (1999) Logistic regression using the SAS system: theory and application. SAS Institute, CaryGoogle Scholar
  2. Aono M, Wakiyama A, Nagatsu M, Nakajima N, Tamaoki M, Kubo A, Saji H (2006) Detection of feral transgenic oilseed rape with multiple-herbicide resistance in Japan. Environ Biosafety Res 5:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beckie HJ, Warwick SI, Nair H, Séguin-Swartz G (2003) Gene flow in commercial fields of herbicide-resistant canola (Brassica napus). Ecol Appl 13:1276–1294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beckie HJ, Harker KN, Hall LM, Warwick SI, Légère A, Sikkema PH, Clayton GW, Thomas AG, Leeson JY, Séguin-Swartz G, Simard MJ (2006) A decade of herbicide resistant crops in Canada. Can J Plant Sci 86:1243–1264Google Scholar
  5. Canola Council of Canada (CCC) (2005) Canola Watch Reports, 2005. Canola Council of Canada, Winnipeg, ManitobaGoogle Scholar
  6. Canola Council of Canada (CCC) (2006) Canola Watch Reports, 2006. Canola Council of Canada, Winnipeg, ManitobaGoogle Scholar
  7. Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) (2007) Grain elevators in Canada, crop year 2007–2008. Canadian Grain Commission, WinnipegGoogle Scholar
  8. Claessen D, Gilligan CA, van den Bosch F (2005) Which traits promote persistence of feral GM crops? Part 2: implications of metapopulation structure. Oikos 110:30–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Colbach N (2009) How to model and simulate the effects of cropping systems on population dynamics and gene flow at the landscape level: example of oilseed rape volunteers and their role for co-existence of GM and non-GM crops. Env Sci Pollut Res 16:348–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crawley MJ, Brown SL (2004) Spatially structured population dynamics in feral oilseed rape. Proc R Soc Lond B 271:1909–1916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crawley MJ, Hails RS, Rees M, Kohn D, Buxton J (1993) Ecology of transgenic oilseed rape in natural habitats. Nature 363:620–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Demeke T, Perry DJ, Scowcroft WR (2006) Adventitious presence of GMOs: scientific overview for Canadian grains. Can J Plant Sci 86:1–23Google Scholar
  13. Devos Y, Demont M, Dillen K, Reheul D, Kaiser M, Sanvido O (2009) Coexistence of genetically modified (GM) and non-GM crops in the European Union. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 29:11–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dormann CF, McPherson JM, Araújo MB, Bivand R, Bolliger J, Carl G, Davies RG, Hirzel A, Jetz W, Kissling D, Kühn I, Ohlemüller R, Peres-Neto PR, Reineking B, Schröder B, Schurr FM, Wilson R (2007) Methods to account for spatial autocorrelation in the analysis of species distributional data: a review. Ecography 30:609–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Freckleton RP, Watkinson AR (2002) Large-scale spatial dynamics of plants: metapopulations, regional ensembles and patchy populations. J Ecol 90:419–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Friesen LF, Nelson AG, Van Acker RC (2003) Evidence of contamination of pedigreed canola (Brassica napus) seedlots in western Canada with genetically engineered herbicide resistance traits. Agron J 95:1342–1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garnier A, Pivard S, Lecomte J (2008) Measuring and modelling anthropogenic secondary seed dispersal along roadverges for feral oilseed rape. Basic Appl Ecol 9:533–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Haining R (2003) Spatial data analysis: theory and practice. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hall L, Topinka K, Huffman J, Davis L, Good A (2000) Pollen flow between herbicide-resistant Brassica napus is the cause of multiple-resistant B. napus volunteers. Weed Sci 48:688–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hanski IA (1999) Metapopulation ecology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Hatcher L, Stepanski EJ (1994) A step-by-step approach to using the SAS system for univariate and multivariate statistics. SAS Institute, CaryGoogle Scholar
  22. Kawata M, Murakami K, Ishikawa T (2009) Dispersal and persistence of genetically modified oilseed rape around Japanese harbors. Env Sci Pollut Res 16:120–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Klute DS, Lovallo MJ, Tzilkowski WM (2002) Autologistic regression modeling of American woodcock habitat use with spatially dependent data. In: Scott JM, Heglund PJ, Morrison ML et al (eds) Predicting species occurrences: issues of accuracy and scale. Island, Washington, DC, pp 335–343Google Scholar
  24. Knispel AL, McLachlan SM, Van Acker RC, Friesen LF (2008) Gene flow and multiple herbicide resistance in escaped canola populations. Weed Sci 56:72–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leeson JY, Thomas AG, Andrews T, Brown KR, Van Acker RC (2002) Manitoba weed survey of cereal and oilseed crops in 2002. Weed Survey Series Publication 02-2. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, SaskatoonGoogle Scholar
  26. Levidow L, Boschert K (2008) Coexistence or contradiction? GM crops versus alternative agricultures in Europe. Geoforum 39:174–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Levins R (1970) Extinction. In: Gerstenhaber M (ed) Some mathematical problems in biology. American Mathemetical Society, Providence, pp 75–107Google Scholar
  28. Magas OK, Gunter JT, Regens JL (2007) Ambient air pollution and daily pediatric hospitalizations for asthma. Env Sci Pollut Res 14:19–23Google Scholar
  29. Maheu-Giroux M, de Blois S (2007) Landscape ecology of Phragmites australis invasion in networks of linear wetlands. Landscape Ecol 22:285–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) (2009) Manitoba Management Plus Program. http://www.mmpp.com, accessed: January 20, 2009
  31. Marvier M, Van Acker RC (2005) Can crop transgenes be kept on a leash? Front Ecol Environ 3:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mauro IJ, McLachlan SM (2008) Farmer knowledge and risk analysis: postrelease evaluation of herbicide-tolerant canola in western Canada. Risk Anal 28:463–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mauro IJ, McLachlan SM, Van Acker, RC (2009) Farmer knowledge and a priori risk analysis: pre-release evaluation of genetically modified Roundup Ready wheat across the Canadian prairies. Env Sci Pollut Res. doi:10.1007/s11356-009-0177-6
  34. Okabe A, Okunuki K, Shiode S (2008) SANET: a toolbox for spatial analysis on a network—version 3.4. Centre for spatial information science. University of Tokyo, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  35. Peltzer DA, Ferriss S, FitzJohn RG (2008) Predicting weed distribution at the landscape scale: using naturalized Brassica as a model system. J Appl Ecol 45:467–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pessel FD, Lecomte J, Emeriau V, Krouti M, Messean A, Gouyon PH (2001) Persistence of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) outside of cultivated fields. Theor Appl Genet 102:841–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pivard S, Adamczyk K, Lecomte J, Lavigne C, Bouvier A, Deville A, Gouyon PH, Huet S (2008) Where do the feral oilseed rape populations come from? A large-scale study of their possible origin in a farmland area. J Appl Ecol 45:476–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith RE, Veldhuis H, Mills GF, Eilers RG, Fraser WR, Lelyk GW (1998) Terrestrial ecozones, ecoregions, and ecodistricts of Manitoba: an ecological stratification of Manitoba's natural landscapes. Technical Bulletin 98-9E. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, WinnipegGoogle Scholar
  39. Smyth S, Khachatourians GG, Phillips PWB (2002) Liabilities and economics of transgenic crops. Nat Biotechnol 20:537–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research. WH Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Spooner PG, Lunt ID, Okabe A, Shiode S (2004) Spatial analysis of roadside Acacia populations on a road network using the network K-function. Landscape Ecol 19:491–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Statistics Canada (2007) November estimate of production of principal field crops, Canada, 2007. Field Crop Reporting Series 86:8, Catalogue no 22-002-XIE. Statistics Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  43. Ver Hoef JM, Boveng PL (2007) Quasi-Poisson and negative binomial regression: how should we model overdispersed count data? Ecology 88:2766–2772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. von der Lippe M, Kowarik I (2007) Crop seed spillage along roads: a factor of uncertainty in the containment of GMO. Ecography 30:483–490Google Scholar
  45. Warwick SI, Légère A, Simard M-J, James T (2008) Do escaped transgenes persist in nature? The case of an herbicide resistance transgene in a weedy Brassica rapa population. Mol Ecol 17:1387–1395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Warwick SI, Simard M-J, Légère A, Beckie HJ, Braun L, Zhu B, Mason P, Séguin-Swartz G, Stewart CN (2003) Hybridization between transgenic Brassica napus L. and its wild relatives: Brassica rapa L., Raphanus raphanistrum L., Sinapis arvensis L., and Erucastrum gallicum (Willd.) O.E. Schulz. Theor Appl Genet 107:528–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yoshimura Y, Beckie HJ, Matsuo K (2006) Transgenic oilseed rape along transportation routes and port of Vancouver in western Canada. Environ Biosafety Res 5:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Conservation Lab, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and ResourcesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations