Larger Farm Sizes Lead to Declines in Bird Diversity, Study Finds

The University of British Columbia released results of a study on how different farming indicators impact the diversity of local birds in the farmland bordering the former Iron Curtain in Germany. A sharp difference in farm sizes exists along the former border, allowing for comparisons of the effect of smaller and larger agricultural landscapes and land uses. Researchers found that increased farm sizes resulted in a 15% decline in bird diversity. “Providing a mix of different crop type and other land uses such as forests and grassland within the agricultural landscape is crucial for biodiversity conservation and can mitigate the negative impact of agricultural industrialization,” explained Assistant Professor Frederik Noack. “Our results show that the negative impact of increased farm size can be mitigated by conserving land cover diversity within the agricultural landscape. In practice, this could mean incentivizing riparian buffer strips, forest patches, hedgerows, or agroforestry.”