Download A Less Green and Pleasant Land: Our Threatened Wildlife by Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham PDF

By Professor Norman Maclean, Chris Packham

Disentangling the evidence from the hype, this 'Domesday publication' of the British and Irish geographical region bargains a definitive and up to date survey of the country of our natural world this present day. Norman Maclean, editor of the bestselling Silent summer season, examines the newest findings of england and Ireland's best natural world specialists and translates them for a much broader viewers. each one bankruptcy offers trustworthy estimates of animal populations, displaying which species are thriving and that are in decline. The e-book additionally considers the results of weather switch on our natural world and the way human inhabitants progress is influencing its improvement. fantastically illustrated with color plates and wooden engravings all through, this available and well timed research unearths simply how quickly our geographical region and its flora and fauna are altering, why we must always be anxious, and what we will do approximately it.

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But it was not to last. As agriculture became more mechanised and intensive, the requirements for hedges and field margin strips disappeared, as did most of the common weeds of farm crops. Farm animals would spend more time indoors and less time providing the once-widespread crop rotations of alternate grass and grain or potato crops. Also, just as Rachel Carson so accurately predicted, the reliance of advanced agriculture on synthetic insecticides and herbicides would put paid to previous insect abundances, and also lead to the rapid decline of species such as kestrels and sparrowhawks, whose position at the top of the food chain led to their accumulating lethal concentrations of organochlorides in their tissues and eggs.

Given time, there would be an expectation that water voles making straight burrows would continue to disappear, while those fortuitously making burrows with a right-angle bend would gradually replace them and become a new and distinct species. Since water voles may only have two litters a year, it is clear that the replacement of straight-burrow voles by angled-burrow voles might take many years, perhaps over a century. The present problem is that (1) numbers of a given species remaining may not be sufficient to throw up successful variants, and (2) even if successful variants do appear, the multiplicity of the factors which are changing often means that even if they escape one new threat, such as predation by an introduced species, they may simply fall foul of another.

12 There are more than 20 species of these interesting birds surviving today. All have evolved on the Hawaiian islands, and, since avian (bird-specific) malaria had never reached these islands, the birds had no natural immunity. When populations of non-native birds were introduced, they brought with them avian malaria to which they were already immune. Mosquitoes, which carry the malarial parasite, were already present on the islands, and rapidly transmitted the parasite from non-native species to the susceptible native species.

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