Collins New Naturalist; Partridges
Until World War I Grey Partridge numbers in Europe alone were at least 75 million, but this number has now quite dramatically fallen to less than 3 million. The Grey Partridge has overcome the effects of several ice ages and thrived in World Wars but it is now expected to disappear completely from huge areas of farmland. In this groundbreaking addition to the New Naturalist series, Potts explores how mankind and partridges have evolved together, and how the long decline in partridge abundance has become a barometer for biodiversity over vast swathes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Highlighting the positive example of the Norfolk Estate in the Sussex Study area, Potts investigates how both Grey and Red-legged Partridge numbers have increased, flourishing in a highly productive and profitable system of farming and an oasis in what has often looked and sounded like a desert.
This is a complex and fascinating story, with a heady mix of hunting, farming, predation, parasites, disease and climate change. Potts stresses the importance of conservation efforts as farmers respond to the needs of an extra three billion people worldwide, not just for food but for bio-fuels. Additionally, the pressures on farmland wildlife will further intensify in the coming years.
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