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Birds, Scythes and Combines: A History of Birds and Agricultural Change

Overview

Despite the scale of change in agricultural methods in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmland birds were little affected, with many benefiting from the appearance of extensive new resources. This book is an historical account of the impact of changes in farming methods on the bird populations of British farmland over the past 250 years. A comparison with modern experience shows significant differences, with the more recent changes in grassland management, herbicide use and harvesting methods ...

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Overview

Despite the scale of change in agricultural methods in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, farmland birds were little affected, with many benefiting from the appearance of extensive new resources. This book is an historical account of the impact of changes in farming methods on the bird populations of British farmland over the past 250 years. A comparison with modern experience shows significant differences, with the more recent changes in grassland management, herbicide use and harvesting methods leading to a loss of diversity in farmland and, consequently, resulting in steep declines in bird numbers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a well-researched book, providing an unparalleled source of information on changes in both farming practice and bird distribution in a single, concise volume. The historical perspective is particularly novel and very welcome. Those engaged in farmland bird research and lovers of the countryside will find this a fascinating and essential read." The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This important account is one that is sorely needed for the North American continent." Indiana Audubon Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107405172
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 383
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Shrubb is a retired farmer with a lifelong interest in birds which he has been studying since the late 1950s.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; Acknowledgements; 1. The agricultural background; 2. The farmland birds; 3. Arable farming systems: high farming and before; 4. Enclosure; 5. Some thoughts on hedges; 6. Drainage; 7. Weeds, weeding and pesticides; 8. Arable farming systems: after 1945; 9. Grassland and stock; 10. Winter food resources; 11. Labour, machines and buildings; 12. Exploitation; 13. Conclusions; Appendix 1; Appendix 2; Bibliography and references; Index.

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