Date of this Version
The vertebrate fauna of Britain is impoverished by nature. Further, virtually the whole land surface has been altered radically by Man, and all vertebrate species have been profoundly affected both unconsciously and consciously by Man. The rate of change during the last quarter of a century has been far greater than at any other time; new deleterious factors - increased habitat destruction, increased human pressure and motor traffic, myxomatosis and a vast increase in pesticide use have coincided in this period. The public's attitude to several common species (e.g., rabbit, woodpigeon, fox and birds of prey) has been equivocal and has altered in time. In Britain the cost of effective population control of most vertebrate pest species would be far greater than the value of the damage done by them; but local control operations are often necessary. Pest control and conservation are seen as different sides of the same coin; in thickly populated industrial countries with rapidly changing environments such as Britain, the emphasis is likely to shift from pest control to conservation in the future.