Birds of cities and fields see their populations collapsing because of human activities, alert scientists Monday, stressing the need for greener agricultural practices in full renegotiation of the common agricultural policy (CAP).
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Between 1989 and 2019, volunteer ornithologists followed the evolution of the populations of 123 most common bird species in France, via the temporal monitoring program of common birds (STOC), because they are a good indicator of the state. of nature.
In 2018, the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and the CNRS launched an alert, speaking of a decline to “a level close to ecological disaster”. Three years later, the MNHN, the French Biodiversity Office (OFB) and the Bird Protection League (LPO) are hardly more optimistic, with 43 species in decline, around 40 stable and 32 in expansion.
Swallows and sparrows in decline
Familiar city birds, such as swallows and tree sparrows are “In strong decline”, according to the press release. In question : “Ever stronger artificialization”, pollution and building renovations that deprive them of cavities in which to nest. More globally “This so familiar fauna is in sharp decline: – 28% fewer birds since 1989”. The situation is worse for birds in agricultural settings, such as “The skylark and the partridges, which have lost nearly a third of their numbers in 30 years”.
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“The intensive agricultural model developed after the war and encouraged by the CAP is largely responsible for having caused the disappearance or transformation of their habitats and for having massively disseminated chemicals, including pesticides”, “in particular neonicotinoids. “ In the forest, the situation is less bad with a drop in numbers of 10% in 30 years.
Birds also have to contend with climate change. To fight against their decline, several things have proved their worth such as nature reserves or “Conditional financial aid” green scenarios “which must be developed in the project of the new common agricultural policy”.
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The LPO, the MNHN and the OFB are also asking “The end of the massive and unreasonable use of pesticides, effective support for agro-ecology, a reduction in the artificialization of soils (…), support for the national strategy of protected areas”.
Researchers warn against “False good news” the increase in populations of certain more adaptable species, such as the wood pigeon or the blue tit: it “In fact reveals a standardization of wildlife”.