Intensive farming harms bird life more than climate change and urbanisation

A study has concluded that intensive farming harms bird life more than climate change and urbanisation. And intensive farming is becoming increasingly necessary as the human population grows. The UK is particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon as the country’s population is growing rapidly mainly due to uncontrolled immigration. Rarely do the politicians discuss the effect on wildlife of population growth. It needs to said.

Intensive farming harms birds. Image: MikeB

In Europe the population size of common bird species has declined by about 25% since 1980. This trend is also seen in the UK. Intensive farming has been a major contributor to this decline because of the use of pesticides and fertilisers and other methods used.

The study’s scientists, according to their calculations, decided that 27 common bird species were negatively impacted because of climate change but 28 bird species did better because of climate change. Nine bird species were negatively impacted when there was more forest cover but 12 species did better.

Intensive farming was not all bad for bird populations. For example, wood pigeons find oilseed rape a useful resource to help them get through the winter months. It appears that modern farming produces more rapeseed oil and therefore wood pigeons have taken advantage of this.

However, the general trend is downwards for birds because of intensive farming. Thirty-one bird species in Britain were harmed by intensive farming while 19 species appeared to benefit from more intensive farming.

Over the 40-year period of the survey, there was a 60% decline in bird species on farmland.

The scientists measured the intensity of farming by measuring the sales of fertiliser and pesticides.

This is obviously a complicated matter because a lot of factors are interconnected. But overall few bird species were winners. Cold-dwelling bird species declined by 40% over the 40-year period. Bird species preferring warmer conditions still declined by 17%.

Richard Gregory from the RSPB, one of the study authors, said:

There are 20,000 sites from 28 countries over 40 years [involved in the study]. It’s a fantastic resource. We need desperately to move to more nature-friendly farming methods.

He was referring to the data collected for the national bird surveys often conducted by volunteers.

Gregory did hint however that it is possible to turn the tide in favour of creating an environment friendly to birds as certain species in Britain have coped well such as the red kite and the crane.

The study is published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences website. I don’t have the title. The source for this article is The Times dated 16th May 2023.

How the f**k can we feed 60 billion farm animals but not 7.9 billion humans?