Thursday, May 28, 2015
Victoria's Green Matters - 28th May 2015
It would seem that poor agricultural practices are to blame for the dramatic decline among once common birds, such as the skylark and the turtle dove. Turtle dove populations have fallen by 90% since 1980 and will soon appear on the red list of threatened species. The ortolan bunting, a songbird which is illegally hunted in France, and the skylark were found to be present in only half their numbers previously recorded.
‘The State of Nature’ study looked at 804 natural habitats, 77% of which were found to be in poor condition; almost one third had deteriorated since a report in 2006 and only 4% were found to be improving.
The study found that intensive farming and changes to land were posing the greatest threat to Europe’s flora and fauna. Grasslands, heath and scrub have been converted to grow more crops; often with the over use of pesticides and this has almost destroyed many bird populations. The removal of natural vegetation and landscape, along with monoculture farming has exacerbated the situation. It is hard to believe that human activity such as hunting, trapping, poisoning and poaching are still continuing in 2015 and these threaten all birds.
Projects linked to EU’s birds’ directive have managed to recover many wild bird populations, such as bearded vultures, great bustards and common cranes and give cause for hope in the future.