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Abundance of insects and aerial insectivorous birds in relation to pesticide and fertilizer use

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


  • Anders Pape Møller, Universite Paris-Sud, Beijing Normal University
  • ,
  • Dorota Czeszczewik, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities
  • ,
  • Einar Flensted-Jensen
  • ,
  • Johannes Erritzøe, House of Bird Research
  • ,
  • Indrikis Krams, Daugavpils University
  • ,
  • Karsten Laursen
  • Wei Liang, Hainan Normal University
  • ,
  • Wiesław Walankiewicz, Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities

Background: The abundance of insects has decreased considerably during recent decades, resulting in current abundance showing 70–80% reductions in more than 15 studies across temperate climate zones. Dramatic reductions in the abundance of insects are likely to have consequences for other taxa at higher trophic levels such as predators and parasites. Pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural land use are likely candidates accounting for such reductions in the abundance of insects. Methods: Here we surveyed the abundance of flying insects, and the reduction in the abundance of insects as a consequence of intensive reduction in agricultural practice linked to fertilizer use and pesticide use. Finally we demonstrated consistency in abundance of birds among study sites. Results: We demonstrated that the use of fertilizers and pesticides had reduced the abundance of insects, with consequences for the abundance of insectivorous bird species such as Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Delichon urbicum) and Swifts (Apus apus). Juvenile Barn Swallows were negatively affected by the reduced abundance of insects and hence the reproductive success of insectivorous bird species. These effects imply that the abundance of insects could be reduced by the availability of insect food. Conclusions: These effects of intensive agriculture on insect food abundance are likely to have negative impacts on populations of insects and their avian predators. This hypothesis was validated by a reduction in the abundance of insects, linked to an increase in the abundance of fertilizers and a general change in farming practice.

TidsskriftAvian Research
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2021

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