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Century-Old Records Show Bird Species Have Seriously Declined in Mojave Desert

The Mojave occupies nearly 50,000 square miles, mostly in southeastern California and Nevada, and it’s considered to be North America’s driest desert. Desert birds help pollinate flowers and disperse seeds, control insect outbreaks, and keep rodent populations in check. They also fill the silence with the sound of their calls. As UC Berkeley ecologist Steven Beissinger puts it: “A desert without birds is half empty. A desert without birds is a quiet place.”

North American birds declined by 29% since 1970

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.

A world without pesticides?

It's been well known for quite some time that the human population has been booming like never before. Thanks to advances in technology, medicine and science, people are living longer lives and creating bigger families to follow in their footsteps.

While it's always a benefit for people to have an improved length and quality of life, it also puts a strain on natural resources. Specifically, as more people are born, more food has to be produced. This need for food has created an opening for pesticides, which have been used to minimize pests and help crops flourish.

France to propose pesticide-free buffer zones in residential areas

The French government is preparing to fix a 5m or 10m pesticide-free buffer zone around housing areas, after several local mayors defied the government by banning weed killers like glyphosate in their towns. But environmentalists say such distances fall short of the mark. The government will begin discussing legislation to introduce pesticide-free buffer zones on Monday, an Agriculture Ministry spokesperson told AFP.

Henk Tennekes story retold

America’s agricultural landscape is now 48 times more toxic to honeybees, and likely other insects, than it was 25 years ago, almost entirely due to widespread use of so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a new study published today in the journal PLOS One. This enormous rise in toxicity matches the sharp declines in bees, butterflies, and other pollinators as well as birds, says co-author Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth US. “This is the second Silent Spring.

Pitfalls in pesticide regulation that fail to identify critical aspects of chemical toxicity

Expenditure for discovery and development of a new crop protection product is now approaching the $ 300 million mark, while at the same time underpinning critical information gaps in environmental safety assessment. Large information gaps also exist for the safety of a vast number of existing chemicals in commerce. The catastrophy in the insect world inflicted by time-reinforced toxicity of neonicotinoids is a case in point. We are on the brink of an ecological Armageddon as a result of pitfalls in pesticide regulation that fail to identify critical aspects of chemical toxicity.

Irish bird populations suffering serious decline

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).

Damselflies are being harmed by thiacloprid

Damselfly populations are being harmed by insecticides as researchers find the wildlife scourge of neonicotinoids continues to grow. Some chemicals in this group have already been banned by the EU but thiacloprid is still in widespread use. Similar chemicals in the neonicotinoid family have already been tied to severe decline in bee populations and now it appears the damage is more widespread.

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Teen Depression in Agricultural Communities

Adolescents exposed to elevated levels of pesticides are at an increased risk of depression, according to a new study led by Jose R. Suarez-Lopez, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study was published online (ahead of print) in June 2019 in the journal International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.

Canada’s grassland birds have plummeted in number since the 1970s

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative in Canada released the second State of Canada’s Birds report last week. The report, a joint project of Environment Canada and numerous government and conservation organizations, looks at the status of Canada’s bird populations going back to 1970.The study found that shorebirds, grassland birds, and aerial insectivores were in rapid decline across Canada, with numbers down 40, 57, and 59 per cent since 1970.