Navigation Links
Modern EU agriculture jeopardizes biodiversity in new member states

This release is available in German.

Sighişoara/Leipzig. Traditional agricultural practices can make a major contribution to preserving biodiversity in the EU's new member states in Central and Eastern Europe. By contrast, the construction of roads and the intensification of agriculture currently encouraged by EU farming subsidies pose a threat to amphibians. The rich natural environment still extant in many accession countries is under threat, according to scientists writing in the journal Biological Conservation.

The researchers from Romania, Germany and the Netherlands investigated amphibians for their study in the Romanian province of Transylvania. They spent nine years studying the populations of various species of newts, frogs and toads in 54 ponds and related their performance to nearby land use.

All in all, the scientists found 10 amphibian species in the surveyed ponds, including EU-wide protected species like the Great Crested Newt and the Yellow Bellied Toad. Statistical evaluation revealed that roads had the biggest impact on their populations. Other factors like the size of ponds, building development, farmland, pasture, woodland and marshlands proved to be far less important. "Roads have a direct negative effect on many species of amphibians, which can get run over by cars. But roads also have an indirect impact, for example by the destruction and isolation of the critical habitats for amphibians such as breeding, summering and overwintering habitats" explained Dr Tibor Hartel from Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

The study area was the "Saxon area" of Southern Transylvania along the Trnava Mare basin in Romania. The agriculture is still largely traditional in this region, sometimes with little changes through the centuries. The landscape is dominated by pasture and deciduous forest, while the arable lands are small sized and scattered across the native grassland vegetation. Mankind's negative impact on biological diversity is statistically still far lower in Eastern Europe than in the West but this traditional cultural landscape and hence its unique biodiversity could soon disappear if agriculture were to be intensified. "We believe that the comparatively extensive agriculture in the study region with little machinery and hardly any chemicals provides conditions which are still suitable for many amphibian species," explains Dr Oliver Schweiger from UFZ.

The findings could have important consequences for protective measures for amphibians in regions of Central and Eastern Europe, where farming has remained largely traditional. Preserving traditional, extensive land management could be the key factor in protecting these species. However, that could be a tough challenge, for many regions, joining the EU will lead to more intensive land use and infrastructure expansion. And that in turn will result in the fragmentation of the landscape and the general deterioration of the remaining habitats. Researchers are now calling for a balance to be struck between the legitimate desire for improved infrastructure and higher agricultural yields on the one hand and the beneficial effects of extensive land use on the other. In their view, this challenge should be regarded as an opportunity for Eastern Europe not to repeat the mistakes made in the West.


Contact: Tilo Arnhold
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Related biology news :

1. Mummies tell history of a modern plague
2. Low-cost molecular medicine should be included in modern eye physicians tool kit
3. Living dinosaurs: The evolutionary history of modern birds
4. Paleontologists audition modern examples of ancient behavior
5. Ancient teeth raise new questions about the origins of modern man
6. 40-year-old test procedure finds modern niche in developing new medicines
7. The brains of Neanderthals and modern humans developed differently
8. Modern humans emerged far earlier than previously thought
9. Scripps Research study challenges conventional theory of modern drug design
10. New book reviews ancient and modern worlds of RNA
11. Cactus genes connect modern Mexico to its prehistoric past
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Modern EU agriculture jeopardizes biodiversity in new member states
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... a new agreement with Nok Nok Labs ... development environments that combine FIDO Certified ™ Synaptics ... complexity of FIDO certification for Synaptics, customers. Using Nok ... to verify FIDO enabled devices in real-world authentication scenarios. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  BIOCLAIM announced today that is has ... Innovation Awards:  Healthcare Edition, an awards program from ... FierceHealthcare , and FierceMobileHealthcare ... the category of "Privacy and Cybersecurity." ... --> Photo - ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Sensors - Technology and Patent Infringement Risk Analysis" ... --> Fingerprint sensors using capacitive technology ... fingerprint sensor vendor Idex forecasts an increase of 360% ... devices and of the fingerprint sensor market between 2014 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... 2015 Oxford Finance LLC ("Oxford"), a specialty ... and healthcare services companies, today announced the closing of ... Inc. ("the Company"). Proceeds from the loan are being ... Company,s Rejuvaphyl™ and daily skincare products. ... brand of high potency skincare products that contain the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015  The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) ... Tekne Award in the Small and Growing Healthcare award ... Minneapolis Convention Center, the Tekne Awards ... role in developing new technologies that positively impact the ... Clostridium difficile infection ( C. diff. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 01, 2015 ... of the "2016 Europe Cell Surface ... Technologies, Competitive Strategies, Opportunities for Suppliers--France, Germany, ... offering. --> ) has ... Europe Cell Surface Markers: Country Volume and ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Dec. 1, 2015  CardioCell LLC, a Stemedica ... cells for cardiovascular indications, intends to proceed with ... on recommendations from a Heart Failure Advisory Board ... Scientific Advisory Board members . In a recent ... IIa safety and efficacy data from CardioCell,s on-going ...
Breaking Biology Technology: