In a recent study performed by a group of scientists from several European countries, soon to be published, persistent negative effects of pesticides used in farming on biodiversity are shown. Agricultural intensification in Europe has caused many wild plants and animal species to go extinct. A dramatic change in the functioning of agro-ecosystems has been observed. Little is known about what caused these effects. Which components of agricultural intensification, like loss of landscape elements, enlarged farms and field sizes and more frequent use of fertiliser and pesticides, had the largest impact?
It was identified that the use of insecticides and fungicides had consistent negative effects on biodiversity. Moreover, insecticides also reduced the biological control potential. It appeared that organic farming and other agri-environment schemes aiming to mitigate the negative impact of intensive farming did increase biodiversity of wild plants and ground beetles, but unexpectedly did not increase the diversity of birds.
The scientists conclude that to restore biodiversity, and to provide opportunities for crop production utilising biodiversity-based ecosystem services such as biological pest control, there must be a Europe-wide shift towards minimal use of pesticides in farming (Source: Basic and Applied Ecology).
MoosMood expects this to be a universal necessity when it comes to fostering biodiversity.