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Recent studies found that the bird population in French farmland has dwindled because of the use of pesticides.
Researchers conducted two studies over the course of 20 years. One was done on a national level, while the other focused on a particular agricultural region in central France. Both studies discovered that farmland bird population has decreased by 33%, although it has increased nationally. Researchers believe that using pesticides in corn and grain fields is the main culprit behind this decline. While pesticides do not directly affect the birds, these substances kill insects that birds rely on for food.
Linnets, skylarks, and partridges are some of the birds that have been quickly disappearing in French farmland. Vincent Bretagnolle [vin-suhn bre-tuhn-yohl], a French ecologist and one of the researchers, claims that the decline is so fast that the birds are nearing extinction. This disconcerting trend is also apparent in other countries in Europe. In fact, 24 out of 39 species found in European farmland suffered a decrease in their population. Only six species have seen an increase in number.
The researchers feel alarmed with this decline in farmland bird population. This is because agricultural areas also rely on birds to spread pollen for plant reproduction.
Despite the results of the study, researchers said that farmers should not be blamed for the declining number of farmland birds. In addition, they said that a ban on pesticides may not be the best solution.
Aside from using pesticides, other known causes of the decrease in farmland bird population include intensive farming, deforestation, and not practicing proper crop rotation.