Environmental Biosafety Research

Opinion paper

Opinion paper

The CINMa Index: Assessing the potential impact of GM crop management across a heterogeneous landscape

Marcus J. Collier and Ewen Mullins c1

Dept. Crop Science, Programme for Crops, Environment and Land Use, Teagasc Research Centre, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland


While significant progress has been made on the modification of crops for the benefit of producers, the same cannot be said in regards to eliciting the potential impact that these crops may have on the wider landscape and the diversity of life therein. Management impacts can create difficulties when making policy, regulation and licensing decisions in those countries where agriculture has a significant social and ecological position in the landscape. To begin to gauge the potential impacts of the management of a selection of GM crops on an agricultural landscape, four key biodiversity stressors (Chemicals, Introgression, Nutrients and Management: CINMa) were identified and a grading system developed using published data. Upon application to five selected GM crops in a case study area, CINMa identifies areas in the wider landscape where biodiversity is likely to be negatively or positively impacted, as well as agricultural zones which may benefit from the land use change associated with the management of GM crops and their associated post market environmental monitoring.

(Received October 2 2010)

(Accepted February 19 2011)

(Online publication April 05 2011)

Key Words:

  • biodiversity;
  • CINMa;
  • GM crops;
  • landscape impact;
  • oilseed rape;
  • potato


c1 Corresponding author: ewen.mullins@teagasc.ie