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Bird populations across an eerily quiet French countryside have collapsed, on average, by a third over the last decade-and-a-half, alarmed researchers reported on Tuesday.
Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists detailed in a pair of studies, one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.
Situation - Benoit - Fontaine - Conservation - Biologist
"The situation is catastrophic," said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies.
"Our countryside is in the process of become a veritable desert," he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.
Throat - Ortolan - Bunting - Skylark - Species
The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century.
A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70 percent.
Culprit - Researchers - Use - Pesticides
The culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on...
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