Thursday, October 30, 2014

Victoria's Green Matters - 30th October 2014

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: Whenever we think of deforestation our thoughts immediately travel to the Amazonian Rainforest and the devastation that is being caused by the acceleration of clearing of forests by loggers and farmers. Loopholes in the regulations designed to protect the world’s largest forest are responsible for this degradation.

Deforestation takes place at home, too, with wildlife habitats being lost to housing and farming. One of our favourite birds, the nightingale, has suffered a drastic decline in recent years, both because of habitat loss here and in the regions of Africa where it spends its winters. Forests in Africa are cleared for fuel and farming while wetland ecosystems are being drained and dammed. The nightingale is one of a group of birds that spends winter in the African humid zone along with other migrants such as cuckoos, whinchats and spotted flycatchers, all of which show decline.

Many birds, of course, are shot or captured in nets during the great journeys they make across the Mediterranean. It has been estimated that between 2 and 4 million turtle doves are killed each year, which contributes to the 95% decline in dove populations since 1970.

Climate change also has a part to play. Bird migrations are timed so that there is sufficient prey for the birds to eat, both on their journeys and when they arrive at their destination. Warming temperatures result in insufficient numbers of caterpillars for the birds to feed on at the right time; just one more aspect of the results of climate change. Victoria Nicholls.

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