27 January 2015 | Online since 2003



28 June 2012|News

FUW accuses conservationists of 'failing birds'


Conservationist bodies have been accused of failing wildlife and contributing to the decline in upland birds today by the Farmers' Union of Wales.

The accusation came in response to claims by Ecology Matters, a Wales-based surveying and research consultancy, that intensive land use and overgrazing by sheep on Pumlumon have resulted in a significant loss of biodiversity including declines since 1984 in golden plover and red grouse numbers of 92 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.

But FUW Ceredigion county chairman Fred Williams said farmers were being used as scapegoats and that conservationists were ignoring the “elephant in the room” - namely increases in predator numbers.

“Welsh ewe numbers have fallen to the same level they were at in 1982, and the numbers in the Pumlumon area have fallen by far more, with vast expanses of land now hardly grazed at all due to agri-environment rules. The area is being farmed far less intensively than it was decades ago.

“These claims are just hollow and conservationists are ignoring one of the major causes of declines in bird numbers which is increases in predator numbers.”

Mr Williams said many conservationists took a “see no evil, hear no evil” approach, when it came to damage inflicted on bird populations by predators, and resorted to blaming farming practices as a default position in order to avoid uncomfortable truths.

“People have been farming livestock on Pumlumon since the Iron Age and agriculture has been an important part of the ecosystem for thousands of years.”

Mr Williams cited major increases in the number of wild animals known to target ground-nesting birds, including foxes, badgers and crows, as a major problem for many endangered species.

“Badger setts are now found in areas where they never previously existed, including at levels over 1,000 feet, and analyses of badger and fox diets shows that they regularly target ground-nesting birds and their eggs.

“These animals don’t exist on fresh air and water and it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to work out that doubling badger and fox numbers means doubling the amount of food they need. Unfortunately, ground nesting birds are at the top of the menu.”

Mr Williams added that undergrazing was also a problem in many areas, leading to overgrowth which was unsuitable for many species, and made it easier for predators to sneak up on their prey and find nesting sites. He said that vast forestry plantations also played a role in providing shelter for predators.

Mr Williams said he also had concerns that the proliferation of red kite numbers could also represent a major problem for ground-nesting birds.

“Its great to see a species like the red kite thriving after having been brought back from the verge of extinction but we also have to take care that we don’t create a massive problem for the species which red kites prey on.

“Conservationists who bury their heads in the sand and blame farming for all the ills of the world are causing immense harm to our wildlife and must wake up to the damage that allowing predator numbers to rise without check can cause.”

Download



Comments


03-07-2012 21:47 PM | Posted by: spidan
Show me evidence!

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


19 January 2015
PhD Studentship: Computational Fluid Dynamics for Crop Storage Modelling
Agriculture, Food and Veterinary. Harper Adams University (HAU) is committed to increasing its research to solve the challeng...

23 January 2015
Senior Scientist - Formulation Development / Cambridgeshire
Our client is a growing chemical and materials company, which has developed an award-winning platform technology for providin...

23 January 2015
Operations Manager
Drive operational excellence, improving safety, reliability and efficiency of the wastewater treatment plant and tank farm as...

23 January 2015
2 - 3 Environmental Managers ITT
Offshore wind farm experience would be an advantage. A Renewable Energy client is looking for 2 Or 3 Environmental Managers t...

24 January 2015
Architect Designer
Making energy, including renewables like wind farms, biomass and. E.ON is a global provider of specialised energy solutions w...




Top stories you may have missed
12 November 2014 | Arable
GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops 'good for farmers and the envir...

GM crops are good for the economy and can reduce the amount of pesticides u...


6 November 2014 | Cattle
Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Smaller European markets drive beef expo...

Demand from smaller European markets has helped drive strong growth for UK ...


6 November 2014 | Agri Safety
Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

Lack of engineers a 'ticking time bomb' ...

A lack of engineers, not enough people promoting the land-based industries ...


4 November 2014 | Bees and Beekeeping
Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Bee action plan due: Last chance for bee...

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is launching the National Pollinator ...


4 November 2014 | Arable
Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Experts welcome financial boost for youn...

Agricultural specialists have welcomed a potential financial boost for youn...


3 November 2014 | News
Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

Supermarket competition on prices 'risks...

As retailers continue to participate in a highly competitive race to the bo...


31 October 2014 | Arable
New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New Defra farm figures 'underline volati...

New farm business income data from Defra, which focus on income from March ...


30 October 2014 | Agri Safety
Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture remains one of UK's most dan...

Agriculture has remained one of the industries in which workers are most li...


29 October 2014 | Finance
UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

UK farmland prices see 'substantial grow...

Prime arable land in the UK has seen a substantial year-on-year growth in p...


27 October 2014 | Arable
Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

Satellites to help farmers pinpoint dise...

A new mobile app for farmers able to pinpoint and identify disease, pests a...