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The Impact of Pesticides and Fertilizers on Bird Populations in Europe
A new study has found that the increase in the use of pesticides and fertilizers on agricultural land has been the main reason for the decline in the number of many species of birds in Europe.
Decline in Bird Populations
Using data from 28 countries over a 37-year period, the researchers found that the total number of common bird species on the continent has declined by 25%. And the types of agricultural land have experienced a strong deterioration, since since the beginning of the research, for the period from 1980 to 2016, they have decreased by more than half (56.8%). urban areas by 28%, while northern birds preferring coolness decreased by 40%, and southern birds preferring warmth increased by 17%.
The Cause of the Decline
A collaborative study of more than 50 researchers, published in the journal PNAS, found that modern intensive farming practices using pesticides and fertilizers are to blame for the declining bird populations on the continent. Birds that ate insects, such as sumac, spring wagtail, and spotted minke whale, fared worse.
Anthropogenic Impacts on Bird Populations
The researchers also found a direct link between bird population decline and other anthropogenic impacts such as deforestation, urbanization and warming due to climate change.
The Importance of Forest Cover
James Haywood, National Organizer of the Nesting Bird Study, said: “The decline in bird numbers on farmland across Europe is one of the notable observations of this study, in particular how widespread it is. It also highlights how small the amount of forest the UK maintains in comparison c “However, the study shows that even a small increase in forest cover can mask other changes, especially in the quality and nature of forests.”
The study highlights the impact of modern farming practices on the decline of bird populations in Europe. It is important for policymakers and farmers to take this into account when making decisions about agricultural practices to ensure the conservation of bird species and their habitats.