Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Germany’s insects continue ‘dramatic’ decline

Germany’s insects continue ‘dramatic’ decline
19 Oct
2017
Nature reserves and protected areas in Germany have lost 76 per cent of flying insect biomass since 1989

Researchers at the Krefeld Entomological Society in western Germany have calculated the mass of flying insects from dozens of nature reserves and their latest set of figures show a seasonal decline of 76 per cent across all seasons. There is also a worrying drop of 82 per cent in the summer – the high season for insects indicating that the highest losses occur when biomass is highest during a season.

What is causing the drop? Weather and climatic changes seemed to have little bearing on the figures. Land use change didn’t seem to fit the decline either. In fact, in the areas studied, forest have increased in size and number, while grassland and water bodies have stayed the same. Instead, the researchers hypothesise that larger-scale factors must be involved, such as pesticides and agricultural intensification.

Given that 94 per cent of the land studies are surrounded by agricultural fields, it is plausible that these protected regions could actually start becoming ecological traps of deadly chemicals. Identifying the cause ‘is urgent’ stresses the Krefeld team. ‘The widespread insect biomass decline is alarming, even more so as traps were places in protected areas that are meant to preserve ecosystem functions and biodiversity.’

The results support similar declines seen in specific butterfly and wild bee populations and suggest that the ‘flying community as a whole has been decimated over the last few decades’.

Related items

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Climate

Marco Magrini looks at the financial pressures spilling out into the…

Geophoto

Few sights are more dramatic than a star-filled sky at…

Polar

A region of Antarctica previously known for relative stability is…

Tectonics

Everything we thought we knew about eruptions could be wrong

Oceans

Sea levels are rising across the globe, but along the…

Polar

Seismometers buried in the Ross Ice Shelf have revealed that…

Wildlife

A tightening of restrictions on the insecticides known as neonicotinoids…

Wildlife

Bonnethead sharks, the second smallest member of the hammerhead family,…

Nature

There’s more than enough plastic in the world. That’s why,…

Wildlife

The recent discovery of more than 200 million termite mounds…

Geophoto

The new year still remains a popular time to set…

Wildlife

After decades battling environmental crises that threaten to rob the…

Climate

As another new year beckons and the fight to protect…

Geophoto

A half century has passed since the ‘Earthrise’ photograph – widely believed to have…

Wildlife

Are howler monkeys being adversely affected by ingestion of pesticides containing…

Tectonics

Why unprepared tourists are putting themselves at risk in order…

Geophoto

The majestic and mighty polar bear is in danger of…

Wildlife

Exciting news for wildlife and photography enthusiasts alike – the…

Wildlife

A new system of robotic aerial vehicles is revolutionising the…

Wildlife

Technology used in creating safe urban environments is now being…