Published: Fri, October 20, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

German nature preserves have lost 75 percent of their flying insects

German nature preserves have lost 75 percent of their flying insects

A decline in their numbers has the potential to cause huge disruption to the food chain-the valued of the "ecosystem services" provided by wild insects is estimated to be $57 billion annually in the USA alone. "This decrease has always been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought".

Goulson was part of a team of European scientists who studied population levels in 63 nature reserves across Germany from 1989 to 2016 by setting up malaise traps that captured more than 1,500 samples of flying insects.

"If total flying insect biomass is genuinely declining at this rate [about 6 percent per year], it is extremely concerning", she said. Prior research further shows insect-eating birds numbers have dramatically declined throughout Western Europe.

"These are not agricultural areas, these are locations meant to preserve biodiversity, but still we see the insects slipping out of our hands", he told CNN. It's not exactly a stretch to think that manmade chemicals or other human factors are also contributing to the loss of insect populations on a much larger scale, and it's incredibly important that scientists pinpoint the cause and propose a solution.

The decline is independent from habitat type and can not be explained by changes in weather, land use or habitat characteristics.

By measuring the weight of the insect catch - known as the biomass - from each of the Malaise traps, researchers were able to ascertain the drop in insect numbers. According to Caspar Hallmann (Radboud University), who performed the statistical analyses, "All these areas are protected and a lot of them are managed nature reserves".

More news: TalkSPORT 2 Champions League commentary on October 17, 2017

"However", he continued, "when you get an over 75 percent decline in total insect biomass, you know this is not due to a few or vulnerable species".

Instead, they speculated that intensive agriculture and pesticide use may be to blame.

Insects are essential for life on Earth as they act as pollinators and prey for other species.

While no corresponding data over the same study period is available for non-flying insects, "we can just hope they are faring better, but we have no reason to believe that is the case", Hallman said.

A new scientific study has found "dramatic" and "alarming" declines in insect populations in areas in Germany, which researchers say could have far-reaching consequences for the world's crop production and natural ecosystems.

Like this: