Is Organic Farming a Viable Means in Reversing the Downward Trend of Small Game Populations?
MetadataShow full item record
CitationZeitlberger, Juergen. 2018. Is Organic Farming a Viable Means in Reversing the Downward Trend of Small Game Populations?. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis investigates whether organic farming has a positive effect on small game populations. Europe has experienced a strong decline in European brown hare, common pheasant, and grey partridge densities. Current scientific literature suggests that the simplification of agricultural systems is the main driver. However, whether conventional farming methods such as the appliance of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers contribute and to what degree, is not confirmed. Evidence-based knowledge could help decision makers to provide the right set up to benefit small game species important to the environment, economy, and culture of Europe. I use a unique combination of large agriculture and hunting data sets about the state of Lower Austria and GIS technology, to identify correlations between hunting and farming patterns. Simple linear regression analyses show that organic farming is a weak but significant predictor of brown hare and common pheasant hunting yields. Yet steadily decreasing adj. R² values may also suggest that benefits from organic farming are disappearing. Results from the Welch’s t-test confirm the positive influence from this farming practice but a deviation of residuals from normal distribution warrants caution when interpreting this test’s results. I conclude that the avoidance of synthetic materials in agriculture indeed benefits small game. Other land management trends seem to be more decisive factors however. While organic farming is a tool that positively contributes to small game abundance, data suggest that this factor is too small as a viable means for reversing the downward trend in small game populations.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365366