Lifelines Project: Char Valley
2.7 Scientific Background
Wildlife species have been of concern for many years: plants, birds, mammals, insects; moths, butterflies and beetles are all affected. Some species have increased but the majority have declined, some very significantly (Eaton, M. 2015) (JNCC, 2019). (See also Notes below).
Lowland England is a very crowded and “heavily managed” environment but with coordination and minor adjustments in our management methods we can improve the lot of wildlife, which will also benefit us both directly and indirectly.
Buglife is campaigning to stop the use of cypermethrin and systemic neonicotinoids in agriculture
1.2 Effects of pesticides
1.2.1 Effects of pesticides on insect populations
The good news is that it is not too late; few insects have gone extinct so far, and populations can rapidly recover. We urgently need to stop all routine and unnecessary use of pesticides and start to build a nature recovery network by creating more and better connected, insect friendly habitat in our gardens, towns, cities and countryside.”
“We hereby propose a global ‘roadmap’ for insect conservation and recovery. This entails the immediate implementation of several ‘no-regret’ measures that will act to slow or stop insect declines.”
One of these steps is: Phase out pesticide use.
1.2.2 Effects of pesticides on biodiversity
In a 2019 article in the Journal Frontiers in Environmental Science, the authors wrote:
“There is agreement in the scientific community that pesticides are a central responsible factor for the observed terrestrial biodiversity declines.”
1.2.3 Effects of pesticides on human health
There are numerous concerns about the damaging effects of pesticides – especially glyphosate (marketed as Roundup) – on human health. According to an official World Health Organisation monograph (IARC, 2015), “there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals” and that “glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells…” .
1.3 Factors affecting biodiversity and abundance
1.3.1 Land management practicesThere are many land-management practices that are known to affect biodiversity and abundance, each one a subject in itself. In the context of this discussion, adopting practices that are known to be beneficial will help:
American skunk cabbage
New Zealand pigmyweed
Eaton M., Aebischer N., Brown A., Hearn R., Lock L., Musgrove A., Noble D., Stroud D. and Gregory G. (2015). Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the population status of birds in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. British Birds 108 • Dec 2015 • 708–746. (https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/projects/bird-surveys-in-the-uk/)
JNCC (2019). D1c. Status of pollinating insects. JNCC resource dataset. (https://jncc.gov.uk/our-work/ukbi-d1c-pollinating-insects/ accessed 16/01/2020.)
IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer - World Health Organization), IARC Monographs Volume 112, 2015 (https://www.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/MonographVolume112-1.pdf
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