German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Environmental Damage from the Release of Transgenic Organisms into the Environment: Definition and Operationalisation Strategy


Risk assessment

Research Code

804 89 002

Project Lifecycle

1 October 2004 – 30 April 2005

Research Focus and Aims

Under Article 4 of the EU Deliberate Release Directive (2001/18/EC), Regulation (EC) No. 1829/2003) on Genetically Modified Food and Feed and Germany's Genetic Engineering Act (GenTG), deliberate release or the placing on the market of genetically modified organisms may have no adverse effects as set out in the legislation. One problem area is that the legislation contains no clear definition of adverse effects and sets out no specific measures or criteria to identify adverse effects on the environment – otherwise known as 'environmental damage'.

Against this backdrop, the project builds on existing R&D activities, international research projects, existing legislation and the literature to define adverse effects/environmental damage caused by agro-genetic engineering to targets of protection under nature conservation law.

It also serves operationalisation of the definition by developing a methodological approach to select evaluation criteria and to determine significance thresholds. While no specific significance thresholds or evaluation criteria were identified by the research body, the methodological framework was set out for the subsequent R&D project on operationalisation of the model to assess environmental damage caused by GMOs (Research Code 805 81 004: Module II). The relevant implementation and enforcement levels in agro-genetic engineering were treated separately.

Research Body

TU Berlin, Institut für Ökologie
FG Ökosystemkunde / Pflanzenökologie
Project Team: Robert Bartz, Ulrich Heink & Ingo Kowarik

Point of Contact at BfN

Dr. Thomas Meise FG II 2.3

Final Report/Publication

BfN-Skripten 166 (in German)

Last Change: 05/05/2011