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Pesticides analysis underlines need for more sustainable farming

A major review of systemic pesticides – the best known of which are neonicotinoids - led by a range of leading scientists has confirmed these chemicals are already causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species.

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A major review of systemic pesticides – the best known of which are neonicotinoids – led by a range of leading scientists has confirmed these chemicals are already causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species. Additionally the authors have recognised the potential threat to other species, such as birds.

Dr David Gibbons is the Chief Scientist at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. He is also one of the assessment’s authors. He said: “For decades the populations of some of our most-loved countryside birds have declined precipitously as successive technologies harnessed to farming have increased agricultural production. Our assessment clearly highlights the current risks to bees and other insects from systemic pesticides. Although the effects on birds and other vertebrates remain unclear, the analysis suggests they are at risk, both from the direct toxicity of these chemicals, and by depleting the numbers of other insects on which they depend for food. For the sake of nature, farming has to find ways of producing food without putting the environment and its own future under unsustainable stress.”

The RSPB is urging regulators to review the evidence presented in this analysis very carefully.

The analysis, known as the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA) will be published in the peer-reviewed journal: Environmental Science and Pollution Research.  

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