Cereals gain as wildlife loses
Monday 12 August 1996
Set-aside may not have been the perfect natural habitat, because most of it shifted from field to field in rotation, limiting wildlife's chances of getting a hold, but conservation organisations are distressed at the prospect of it disappearing. Set-aside land has also proved good for game.
"The decline of set-aside is a big worry for us," said Andy Evans, a research biologist with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "It looks like going sooner rather than later."
A study in Devon has shown that in winter, the grey partridge, skylark, linnet and yellowhammer all spend far more time on set-aside land than on autumn-sown cereal fields. It is their habitat of choice, and that is almost certainly because they can find more seed, plant and insect food at that hungry time of year. Such birds used to get much of their winter food from the grain spilt in stubble fields during the harvest.
Such fields have largely disappeared; nowadays they are ploughed soon after the harvest for the planting of the more productive autumn-sown cereals.
Numbers of cirl buntings, which have become extremely rare, are rising and it seems that the numbers of skylarks and linnets might have begun recovering after years of decline.
The advent of mass set-aside is thought to be a cause, perhaps the main one.
Set-aside land sown with grass seems to be particularly good for ground- nesting birds raising their young.
Research by Oxford University and the British Trust for Ornithology has shown that skylarks can raise 40 chicks on 100 hectares of set-aside, and just four on the same area of autumn-sown cereal fields.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...
Main Pay Scale : Randstad Education Leeds: Biology Teacher to A Level - Female...
£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...