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Moral EntanglementsConserving Birds in Britain and Germany$
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Stefan Bargheer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376639

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226543963.001.0001

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Endangered Birds and Indicator Species

Endangered Birds and Indicator Species

(p.140) Chapter 5 Endangered Birds and Indicator Species
Moral Entanglements

Stefan Bargheer

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 5 analyzes the transformation of bird conservation in the time from the 1950s to 1970s. In Britain, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds focused on rare and endangered bird species. The creation of nature reserves was its major conservation strategy and attracted growing numbers of bird watchers. The increasing appeal of bird watching also shaped how the poisoning of birds through pesticides such as DDT was addressed. Public debates and scientific research on the topic in Britain had begun already well before the American naturalist Rachel Carson published her bestselling Silent Spring in 1962. German conservationists, by contrast, were latecomers in reacting to the pesticides issue and largely followed the British and American examples. The use of pesticides moreover made the previously established practice of protecting birds for economic ends irrelevant, opening up space for the protection of endangered species. The previous focus of the Bund für Vogelschutz, now called Deutsche Bund für Vogelschutz, on the abundance of species useful to agriculture became increasingly seen as outdated. The different effects of the pesticides issue in the two countries are the reason why it makes sense to speak of an environmental revolution in Germany, but not in Britain.

Keywords:   Rachel Carson, pesticides, endangered species, environmental revolution, Britain, Germany, Deutsche Bund für Vogelschutz

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