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Loss Of Wildlife And Native Plants Related To Farming

By Michelle L Published 05/24/2010 | Environment

The increase in population in England has made an impact on the environment. The rise from one million to more than fifty-one million in the past two millennia has resulted in the extinction of hundreds of native animals and plants.

Some of these extinct species are the blue stag beetle, the lynx, the great auk, and Davall’s sedge. In the last two hundred years, about 480 out of 492 species suffered extinction since the Roman times.

About 24% of butterfly species and 22% of amphibians have been reported as extinct in England. Also, York groundsel (a weed discovered in the recent 1970s), the Mitten's beardless moss; Ivell's sea anemone (last spotted in a lagoon near Chichester) have been wiped out of the English soil.

The devastating effect on the wildlife is apparent; the wolf, the wildcat and other big mammals are suffering because of this too.

Of course, it is far worse in real than in the studies conducted, the chief scientist of Nature England, Dr Tom Tew, pointed out.

Other species like the golden eagle and the sturgeon are thought to be lost but not officially extinct because they can still be seen in England even though they do not breed there.

Other species that are extinct but categorized as missing species includes the brilliant moon beetle, the banded mining bee and Opegrapha paraxanthodes.

One of the main culprits of this is the grand inroads which are made into the countryside of England by the farmers and builders. These have a fatal effect on the wildlife because it destroys their habitat, their food sources, and shelter.

According to Tew, the developmet was one cause of habitat loss but farming had the greatest impact. A lot of damselflies, rare mosses, and corncrakes had disappeared because we ‘ripped’ the woods, ‘drained’ our wetlands and ‘ploughed’ over the landscape.

Analysis shows that the extinctions took place in two major waves and both the waves are based on farming revolutions. The first one took place post industrial revolution in the Victorian times when steam engines and tractors were devised; and the second one occurred after 1945, when there was intense use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

During the first wave, the wildlife like the moor and agile frogs and the orache moth was not seen anymore and during the second wave, the purple spurge plant and the Norfolk damselfly were wiped out.

According to Tew, other factors responsible for extinction were pollution and species from other places invading the original natives. Habitat is the worst offender, climate change too is becoming a growing concern and it might be responsible for future extinctions in England.