William Collins, 2017. - 1556 p.The effects of modern agricultural practices on the countryside and its wildlife are strikingly evident to every naturalist. During the latter half of the 20th century, a revolution in farming occurred, bringing a heavy dependence on synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. At the same time, farming became much more mechanised, science-based and large scale. All together, these changes increased crop yields and livestock production to levels previously unattainable. However, these changes were achieved only at huge financial and environmental costs, one of which was a massive loss of wildlife, including birds. This book describes what has happened to farmland birds in Britain over the centuries, as agriculture has changed, but deals especially with the changes of recent decades. After two introductory chapters on farmland birds, the book consists of six main sections: one is concerned with the history of agriculture in Britain and its main effects on birdlife; the second with the main plants and animals of farmland, including crops and livestock; the third with the recent changes that have occurred in the management of arable and grazing land; the fourth with woods, lakes and other semi-natural habitats within farmland; the fifth with upland grazing land; and the sixth with conservation farming and agri-environment schemes, followed by some general conclusions. All 22 chapters relate to the birds of farmland, and unless stated otherwise they refer to findings from Britain. Throughout, I have used common vernacular names for birds, other animals and plants, but added scientific names to the captions of diagrams and photographs and also to the index.Introduction Population Trends in Farmland Birds Farming Through Time Post-War Farming: the New Revolution Soils, Invertebrates and Birds Crops, Livestock and Birds Weeds, Pests, Diseases and Birds Pesticides and Birds Arable Land: Management and Birds Arable Land: Crop Growth, Harvest and Birds Traditional Lowland Grasslands Modern Grassland Management and Birds Wet Grassland, Waders and Waterfowl Insect Declines Marshes and Land Drainage Open Waters Woods, Heaths and Farmsteads Hedges and Other Field Boundaries Hill Farming Agri-Environment Schemes Agri-Environment Successes Conclusions
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