The renowned author and whistleblower Evaggelos Vallianatos describes British environmentalist and campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason as a “defender of the natural world and public health.” I first came across her work a few years ago. It was in the form of an open letter she had sent to an official about the devastating environmental and human health impacts of glyphosate-based weed killers. What had impressed me was the document she had sent to accompany the letter.
A recent study concludes that the birds of Canada and the United States have taken a substantial hit in the last 49 years. Researchers from several institutions in the U.S. and Canada, including the American Bird Conservancy, the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, joined forces for the study.
Birdwatch Ireland's research has shown that the country has lost half a million waterbirds or almost 40% in less than 20 years. Among species in decline are Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Pochard (Aythya ferina). It says that there has been an "almost complete extermination" of farmland birds such as the Corncrake (Crex crex).
Schon 20 Feldvogelarten, darunter Braunkehlchen, Rebhuhn, Kiebitz oder Uferschnepf, sind rund um Kassel nicht mehr zu sehen, da diese Arten bereits ausgestorben sind. „Und um den Neuntöter ist es auch schon schlecht bestellt, ebenso um die Feldlerche, den Vogel des Jahres 2019“, sagen Manfred Henkel und Martin Lange vom Nabu Kaufungen-Lohfelden. Im Landkreis sei ihr Bestand dramatisch gesunken. Die beiden Naturschützer läuten Alarm. Nachdem vor rund einem Jahr das Insektensterben in den Medien ein großes Thema war, sind es nun die Feldvögel.
A Dutch researcher, H Tennekes has made the case that neonicotinoids, a special group of insecticides, are causing a catastrophe in the insect world, which is having a knock-on effect for many of our birds. These chemicals were introduced in the 1990’s and it wasn’t long afterwards that beekeepers noticed massive declines in bee numbers (Colony Collapse Disorder). France banned the use of one of these chemicals on sun flower seed in 1999, and Germany and Italy have banned two types on maize.
At the recent Extinction Rebellion protest in Moretonhamstead as reported in the last edition of The Moorlander, one of the flyers the group were handing out brought attention to the worrying decline in Devon’s wildlife. A 90% decline in Greater Horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) has been seen, 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) no longer breed in Devon; the last pair was recorded in 1993.
Experts from Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Buglife and the RSPB have all pointed to species in danger of disappearing from East Anglia. They include stone curlew - only 202 pairs nested in the East of England last year; the shrill carder bee - common in the region 25 years ago but now found only in the Thames Gateway area; and the crested cow-wheat - a plant limited to a small number of roadside verges because grassland has disappeared to farming or construction. Indeed, habitat destruction and human disturbance are cited as the two most common reasons these species are on the brink.
The latest Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report, published today, shows that the Welsh breeding Curlew population has fallen by 68% between 1995 and 2017, not good news for a bird that has long been associated with Welsh upland and farmland. As a result of the precipitous decline in breeding numbers, the Curlew (Numenius arquata) is one of UK’s most pressing conservation issues. Its decline in Wales is mirrored with an overall decline of 48% across the UK. It’s not good news for Welsh Swifts (Apus apus) either; their breeding population is down by 69% over the same period.
Natuurbeschermer Maarten Bijleveld (82) is al ruim vijftig jaar weg uit Nederland. Hij woont in Zwitserland, maar hij stond als student biologie aan de wieg van het Wereld Natuur Fonds in Nederland. „Ik ben de laatst levende medeoprichter.” Wat Bijleveld de afgelopen tien jaar vooral bezighoudt, is de strijd voor wetenschappelijke waarheid wat betreft de neonicotinoïden, neurotoxische bestrijdingsmiddelen die een „desastreuze” uitwerking hebben op de natuur. Bijleveld heeft het vorige week verschenen rapport van de Verenigde Naties over het dramatische verlies aan biodiversiteit gelezen.