Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wildlife recovery stopped in its tracks

03.09.2007
A wildlife success story could fail within a year if more farmland is cultivated reducing food and shelter for farmland birds, the RSPB is warning.

The rare stone-curlew, one of England’s most elusive birds, has thrived on farmland called set-aside, which has also helped declining skylarks, yellowhammers, lapwings and barn owls.

Set-aside – land on which wheat, barley and other food crops cannot be grown – will be scrapped next year but the government has no plans to replicate its benefits despite its 2020 target to reverse farmland bird declines.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn will today (September 3) consider conservationists’ pleas for replacement measures. The RSPB fears he will choose to ignore them.

Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, the RSPB’s Head of Countryside Conservation, said: “The loss of set-aside with no replacement is about the worst thing that could happen to stone-curlews and other farmland birds, at the worst possible time.

“More than a quarter of stone-curlew chicks are raised on set-aside and far more skylarks nest on set-aside than on fields with crops. In winter, set-aside becomes a giant bird table for many species including skylarks, corn buntings and linnets.

“All of these birds have government action plans to boost their numbers but none are likely to hit recovery targets if set-aside goes unless its benefits are reproduced by other means.

“Set-aside was never intended as a conservation measure but has turned out to be a boon for wildlife. When gains like these are so few and far between, we cannot afford to dismiss them so easily.”

Ten years of work to help stone-curlews led to the bird hitting its 2010 recovery target of 300 breeding pairs, five years early.

The species suffered one of the most spectacular declines of all wildlife after the Second World War because the bare or sparsely covered fields it used for nesting disappeared.

Set-aside became compulsory in 1992 as part of the Common Agricultural Policy, to reduce Europe's grain mountains.

When set-aside was cut from 15 per cent of farmland to five per cent in 1996, the most recent large-scale change, farmland bird numbers dropped by five per cent. On top of a 40 per cent decline in three decades, that loss now could devastate many species.

The RSPB is urging Defra to ensure the wildlife benefits of set-aside in England are replaced. In the short term, subsidies paid to farmers should be conditional on leaving a small area of land fallow. In the longer term, there should be more money invested in green farming schemes.

Dr Armstrong Brown said: “Millions of people rejoice in the songs of the skylark and yellowhammer, the tumbling of the lapwing and the eerie silence of the hunting barn owl.

“These birds are part of our countryside just as much as the views or the colours or the seasons. To forgo what we have salvaged now would be unforgivable. Farmers are committed to helping reverse farmland bird declines but cannot do so without a government prepared to back them.”

Cath Harris | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rspb.org.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>