Modern farming isn’t driving insect declines, agricultural industry says

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Painted Lady butterfly

A new piece of research, carried out by Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris Wyckhuys, reviewed 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the world and attempted to assess the underlying drivers.

Their conclusions….were that habitat loss by conversion to ‘intensive agriculture’ was the main cause of the declines, with ‘agro-chemical pollutants’ listed as an additional driver….

But Sarah Mukherjee, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, pointed out the review contained no new evidence and suggested the researchers had sought to blame agriculture for habitat loss while downplaying the effects of urbanization, deforestation and population growth.

“Crop protection products play a fundamental role in ensuring land is as productive as possible, meaning more land can be left for nature and biodiversity,” she added.

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“As a recent study published in Nature concluded, modern productive agriculture is the best way to meet growing demand for safe, affordable food, whilst reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint and conserving biodiversity.”

Twitter users also criticized the researchers for including a study which showed the number of widespread butterfly species fell by 58 per cent on farmed land in England between 2000 and 2009, while failing to look at more recent UK Biodiversity Indicators which show increases in butterfly populations and stable pollinator populations.

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Read full, original article: Industry hits back at claims ‘intensive agriculture’ is to blame for insect decline

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