believe heavy use of pesticides in the French countryside is the cause of a
massive decline in bird populations in the area.
decrease in population varies by species, and in some cases is as high as two
thirds, the number of birds overall has dropped by roughly a third in the last
Biologist Benoit Fontaine describes the situation as 'catastrophic'.
He said: "Our
countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert."
that have seen a significant decline include such birds as the common white
throat, the ortolan bunting, and the Eurasian skylark.
have determined the reason for the decrease of the bird population is a decline
in the number of insects - the primary food source for the birds - which is of
course the result of pesticide use.
The bulk of
the over spraying reportedly occurs in monoculture farming - particularly that
of staple crops such as wheat and corn.
France's government does have a plan to reduce pesticide use in coming years,
demand for the staple crops continues to grow.
Bretagnolle told the Guardian that even bird populations that aren't specific to
the environments where agriculture occurs are decreasing in number.
He added: "That
shows that the overall quality of the agricultural eco-system is