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    The impact of agricultural practices on biodiversity

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    Abstract
    Agricultural activities such as tillage, drainage, intercropping, rotation, grazing and extensive usage of pesticides and fertilizers have significant implications for wild species of flora and fauna. Species capable of adapting to the agricultural landscape may be limited directly by the disturbance regimes of grazing, planting and harvesting, and indirectly by the abundance of plant and insect foods available. Some management techniques, such as drainage, create such fundamental habitat changes that there are significant shifts in species composition. This paper considers the relative merits of conventional tillage versus reduced, or no-till farming, and reviews the benefits of rest-rotation grazing, crop rotation and intercropping in terms of maintaining wild species populations.
    There are a number of undesirable environmental impacts associated with fertilizer and pesticide usage, and in this paper we attempt to provide an account of the ways in which these inputs impact on biodiversity at various levels including plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate groups. Factors which are considered include the mobility, trophic interactions, persistence, and spectrum of toxicity for various pesticides. The ecological virtues of organic and inorganic fertilizers are compared, and the problems arising from excessive use of fertilizer are discussed.

    The findings in this review indicate that chemical fertilizer loadings must be better budgeted to not exceed local needs, and that pesticide inputs should be reduced to a minimum. The types and regimes of disturbance due to mechanical operations associated with agricultural activity may also be modified to help reduce negative impacts on particular groups of species, such as birds. For those plant and insect species which need to be controlled for agronomic reasons, the population decreases brought about by disturbance regimes may be desirable as a form of pest management. The prevalence of agriculture over such a large portion of the Canadian landscape means that it is important that we find solutions to conflicts that arise between agriculture and wild species.

    It is important to realize that the impact of agricultural inputs varies greatly among regions and species, and actual effects have generally not been investigated for many species in any one locality; while the focus of this review is on Canada, much Canadian-specific research is lacking, thus, this review also draws from relevant research done elsewhere.

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    作者:McLaughlin, Alison,Mineau, Pierre 来源:Elsevier 发布时间:2011年07月13日