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Pesticides Cause Plummet Of France's Bird Population

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Researchers believe heavy use of pesticides in the French countryside is the cause of a massive decline in bird populations in the area.


Dropping population

While the decrease in population varies by species, and in some cases is as high as two thirds, the number of birds overall has dropped by roughly a third in the last 15 years.

Conservation Biologist Benoit Fontaine describes the situation as 'catastrophic'.

He said: "Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert."

Species that have seen a significant decline include such birds as the common white throat, the ortolan bunting, and the Eurasian skylark.


Compromised food source

Researchers have determined the reason for the decrease of the bird population is a decline in the number of insects - the primary food source for the birds - which is of course the result of pesticide use.

The bulk of the over spraying reportedly occurs in monoculture farming - particularly that of staple crops such as wheat and corn.

While France's government does have a plan to reduce pesticide use in coming years, demand for the staple crops continues to grow.


Ecosystem 'deteriorating'

Ecologist Vincent Bretagnolle told the Guardian that even bird populations that aren't specific to the environments where agriculture occurs are decreasing in number.

He added: "That shows that the overall quality of the agricultural eco-system is deteriorating."




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