IAF Biodiversity Working Group
Diversity of life is the basis of humane living; however, the speed that species are
going extinct or disappearing from their original habitats is accelerating.
Falconers and hunters cannot and do not ignore the circumstances that cause
this. Falconry is the hunting of game in its natural habitat with a trained bird of
prey; without game there can be no falconry. Falconry is, therefore, reliant on
Areas of high biodiversity, such as this meadow of wildflowers on the left, support diverse
insect life and complex ecosystems of larger animal species. Unfortunately, increasing
intensity of agricultural practices is making biodiversity deserts, such as this monoculture
on the right, more common.
There are fewer and fewer areas in Europe for hunting species like the grey
partridge, found in huge numbers across central Europe up until the 1970s. In
some parts of Europe the partridge has become totally extinct. However it is not
only game species that are affected; farmland birds like larks, buntings, lapwings,
curlew, even sparrows are declining at alarming rates.
The reasons for the
decreases are well known and have been well studied: monocultures, harvesting
crops during the night and in early spring and the use of synthetic pesticides all
have strongly negative effects on biodiversity. The absence of insects that these
practices cause makes the survival of the ecosystems that depend on them,
including farmland birds like partridge, lark and lapwing, nearly impossible.
Falconers and hunters are aware of this situation. Great efforts are being made
by them in areas where falconry and hunting is practiced to encourage the
recovery of biodiversity necessary to support these bird species. Falconers know
that only modern, efficient farming can secure the food needs of the worl d’s
constantly rising population and we express solidarity with the targets of modern
farming; however, an effective and sustainable farming system has to include the
protection of water, soil and climate, as well as the ecosystems that depend on
This protection represents an extraordinary economic value, the European
Union’s CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) including GREENING measures must
provide for those targets. There is hope for these farmland species if GREENING is
implemented in a successful way. Unfortunately, we are seeing insufficient
implementation in many parts of the EU. Falconers and hunters acknowledge
their responsibility for the environment and the IAF Biodiversity Working Group,
a specialist task force consisting of falconers and hunters with scientific and land management
backgrounds, works to raise awareness of threats to European biodiversity and to seek solutions to these.
The IAF Biodiversity Working Group has issued a statement on the use of
Glyphosate, available here. IAF will continue to work with MEPs and other NGOs
to preserve farmland biodiversity and protect farmland game populations.