Belgium’s agriculture policy leads to 60% fewer birds, report shows
Monday, 14 September 2020
Belgium’s increased use of pesticides and mechanical plowing in agriculture has caused over 60% of bird life to disappear in the last 30 years, a new report by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has shown.
The farming has caused the soil to degrade and dry up, according to the report, making it harder for the birds to find provisions.
Some 44% of Belgium’s land area is taken up by agriculture. For one, the intensive agriculture with extensive use of manure and pesticides is bad for biodiversity.
On top of that, the disappearance of small landscape elements such as hedges, verges or wood edges also contributes to the great loss of biodiversity. These elements are necessary for the species to be able to move, hide or find foods, according to WWF.
“To this day, the policy is still dropping out, but at the same time there is a unique opportunity with the common agricultural policy that is now being worked out,” Luyten said.
“There are 250 million European funds that can be deployed. Let’s use them to subsidise farmers per hectare of herbal and permanent grassland. That also benefits the farmer,” she added.
Biodiversity increased in Flanders by 0.8 to 0.9%, while the trend remained stable in Wallonia. That said, comparing both regions is difficult, according to WWF, because of their different starting points and their distinct differences in habitats.