Where have Britain's moths gone?

Roger Kuhlman rkuhlman at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 24 16:32:27 EST 2006

I don't disagree with you about the damage that modern agricultural 
practices do to natural habitats and ecosystems in the UK. That kind of 
damage is obvious here in southeast Michigan too. However Britain is already 
densely populated with people and they put a huge strain on the British 
environment now as they have in the past. It would immensely help the 
British environment  if the human population could decline naturally in the 
future to a much lower, more ecologically sustainable size. Unfortunately 
that is not happening now according to UK Statistics 
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/. Since mid 2001 the UK population has been 
growing at 0.4% per year. That is not as bad  a growth rate as the United 
States has but it is not a good sign for future ecological health.

I can't find good statistics about suburban and exurban sprawl in the UK but 
I doubt if good planning will always produce good ecological results in this 
area. If the UK continues to get richer as it is, it will consume more and 
more. Much of this growth in consumption (maybe most?) will be detrimental 
to the British environment.

Roger Kuhlman
Ann Arbor, Michigan

>On Tue, 2006-02-21 at 18:56, Roger Kuhlman wrote:
> > I also wonder if the population of Britain continues to grow. More 
> > and exurban sprawl, more consumption and a growing population is not a 
> > sign for future ecological health.
> >
> > Roger Kuhlman
> > Ann Arbor, Michigan
>If I recall correctly the results of  the last census showed little
>change in our population. Whilst there is obviously some problem with
>development we do have very very strong land use planning laws here
>which are very strict. They control both the construction and appearance
>of buildings.
>For example, as I understand it, I could if I so wished put a satellite
>dish on my house, but if I were to wish to erect a second one I would
>require what we call "Planning Permission".
>The real issue would seem to be agricultural damage to habitats, but
>this is what the report the press release was talking about says.
>It gives figures for habitat loss for various habitats since the 1940s
>Ranging from Lowland Flower Rich Grass land at 97% to Hedgerows
>England (67%), Hedgerows Scotland ( 54%) and lowland heathland (40%)
>and then says:-
>"There is insufficient evidence at present to determine the level of
>impact of habitat change on the declines of common moths . However the
>substantial loss of hedgerows , destruction of field margins and
>reseeding and fertilization of pastures etc. is likely to have been a
>major factor. A recent comparison of organic and conventional mixed
>farms in southern Britain found significantly more moths on the organic
>This supports a previous analysis of data from a very long-running light
>trap on the Rothhamsted Farm , which found that agricultural
>intensification during the 1950s had caused a significant decrease in
>Moth numbers and diversity."
>The full report is purchasable  from the Butterfly Conservation website.
>I think the following quote from the Foreword by Sir David Attenborough
>who is Butterfly Conservation's honorary President.
>"I commend this report to you and hope that is spurs a concerted action
>to save moths, not just for themselves , but also for the many species
>that depend on them or share thier habitats, including ourselves.
>Neil Jones
>Neil at nwjones.demon.co.uk http://www.butterflyguy.com


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