Developing a field of landscape ecotoxicology
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Since toxicants are spread over ecological landscapes, it seems likely that they have effects at that level of ecological organization. Landscape ecotoxicology examines the effects of toxic chemicals on larger scales than traditional environmental toxicology. This approach is characterized by the use of endpoints appropriate to the spatial scale across which a toxicant is dispersed, attention to interactions between physical and temporal patterns and the process of ecological impairment, and integration of multiple lines of evidence for toxicity at various scales. In addition, landscape ecotoxicology seeks predictive models in order to influence human actions before environmental damage occurs. Integrating information from damaged systems, toxicity tests, simulation models, and biomonitoring of healthy systems provides the best basis for decisions. Rapid progress in landscape ecotoxicology is expected as scientists incorporate tools, such as remote sensing and spatially explicit simulation models, and then calibrate these models using data from longterm biomonitoring of large areas. Further integration into combined socio-economic-ecological models is also possible.