30/11/2017

Reason to be optimistic for farmland birds: our letter to The Telegraph

Continuing national declines in farmland bird numbers (Turtle doves 'nearing UK extinction because of farming practices', November 23) is depressing news. However, we know that numerous individual farmers across the country are achieving great things at the farm scale, and through ‘farm clusters’ where groups of farmers combine resources specifically to conserve wildlife at the landscape scale.

Index

On our own Allerton Project research and demonstration farm at Loddington, Leicestershire, we have doubled the numbers of birds present (see graph above) by adapting a management system originally developed for gamebirds.  Different farmers have different approaches to wildlife conservation, but there are enough examples of successful initiatives to be optimistic for the future.

Professor Chris Stoate
Head of Allerton Project Research
Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

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✓ Background
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✓ Case study: The Selborne Landscape Partnership

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Comments

Farmland Birds & Insects

at 12:14 on 05/12/2017 by Nickerless

I read with interest this story but... I also read that the total weight of insects in the UK have declined by 75% in the last 25 years. (The splat factor on your windscreeen!. When were you last bitten by a clegg? Are trout becoming only bottom feeders because there are so few insects on the surface?) The birds I worry about are the gound nesting birds which are so vulnerable to 4 legged predation. Unlike insects the total weight of birds has flat lined. for many years with the smaller lighter species being replaced by the larger and heavier. So the total number of birds are going south while the total weight stays the same. In the case of insects there is no huge difference in individual weights and so the total weight going down corresponds largely with a loss of overall numbers. Reasons are numerous. but mainly come down to the ever increasing intensification of our countryside coupled to such things as the rise in levels of pollutants such as microwaves; plastics; estrogen; loss of non farmed land; loss of proper hedgerows (not the topiary quickthorn things that are field dividers) and many many other facors.

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