Belfast Telegraph

10% drop in birds living and breeding on farmland

By Emily Beament

Birds living and breeding on the UK's farmland have seen numbers decline by almost a tenth in five years.

Farmland bird populations have fallen by 56% since 1970, largely due to agricultural changes including the loss of mixed farming, a switch to autumn sowing of crops, a reduction in hay meadows and the stripping out of hedgerows.

While most of the decline happened between the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a 9% drop between 2010 and 2015, the statistics from the Environment Department (Defra) show.

It has prompted renewed calls for an overhaul of farming, as the UK leaves the EU and its system of agricultural subsidies, to support wildlife and farming.

The data showed some "specialist" species, those restricted to or highly dependent on farmland habitats, have seen precipitous falls.

Belfast Telegraph

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