Many farmland species are in danger of extinction due to the shifts in agricultural farmland. Different crops are being grown which is affecting the lives and habitats of already established farmland species.
With over 185,000 farms located within the UK, they are bound to play a key role in the country’s economy as well as it’s food production. Such the frequency of Farmlands within the UK, that almost all available land which hasn’t been built on by man is used and abused for the growth of livestock or crops. This isn’t new and the fact that there has been a 5% decrease in the number of farms between 2000 and 2010 show us that the problem we have isn’t necessarily caused by the vast number of farms but may be down to the shift of agriculture.
123 farmland species of birds, plants and mammals that are often found on farmland, are now in danger of becoming extinct due to the change in they’re habitat. The change has been caused by the shift in focus of agriculture from Spring-sown cereal to Autumn-sown cereal, no doubt for the financial benefits this change brings to the farmers. Although it doesn’t sound too drastic, the differences between these two types of crops is rather large. Autumn-sown cereal produces denser and taller grasses which can affect creatures such as the Skylarks. These birds have seen a 75% decrease in population between 1972-1996 and then subsequently a 60% drop in the last 10 years.
The Skylarks main habitat is agricultural farmland where they are able to make nests in the grasses as well as eat seeds from the ground. However the thicker grasses have made this harder, if not near impossible, and therefore knocking down their population. These grasses have also caused a decline in the population of Wall Butterfly of about 87% in the last 10 years. Wall Butterfly tend to spend their time either resting on walls as their name would suggest or on bare earth which is now been taken up by the Autumn-sown cereal, showing less and less bare earth.
Richard Gregory, the Royal society for he protection of Birds head of species monitoring, gave the damning verdict that from ‘1,118 farmland species, such as birds, mammals and plants, they found 123 face extinction’. Which is almost 10% of species. As well as this, a wider report in 2013 found that there had been an overall decline of 60% in farmland species numbers in the last 50 years.
Unfortunately there are limited ways in which to combat this issue as getting the right balance is quite a difficult task, seeing that Farmers would be unlikely to change the crop types they are planting in order to satisfy endangered species if it means them losing out on money. This is a worrying issue which is more than likely going to see a few species go extinct in the UK if not resolved quickly.
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