In the past century, the steady growth of the human population and the corresponding increase in agriculture and pesticide use have caused much harm to wildlife in the United States—birds in particular. Unfortunately for birds, these trends are likely to continue, with the result that the number of birds in the United States will necessarily decline.
First, as human populations and settlements continue to expand, birds' natural habitats will continue to disappear. Forests, wetlands, and grasslands will give way to ever more homes, malls, and offices. As the traditional areas suitable for birds keep decreasing, so will the size of the bird populations that depend on those vanishing habitats.
Second, agricultural activities must increase to keep pace with the growing human population. The growth of agriculture will also result in the further destruction of bird habitats as more and more wilderness areas are converted to agricultural use. As a result, bird populations in rural areas will continue to decline.
Third, as human settlements expand and agriculture increases, the use of chemical pesticides will also increase. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill agricultural and home garden pests, such as insects, but inevitably, pesticides get into the water and into the food chain for birds where they can harm birds. Birds that eat the poisoned insects or drink contaminated water can die as a result, and even if pesticides do not kill birds outright, they can prevent them from reproducing successfully. So pesticides have significantly contributed to declines in bird population, and because there will continue to be a need to control agricultural pests in the future, this decline will continue.
Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they challenge the specific points made in the reading passage.