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 and Save!

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...

Geophoto

Winning entries include meerkats, zebra sharks and courting nudibranches

Oceans

The UN’s World Ocean Day is a day to celebrate…

Nature

Breathe easier this World Environment day with this collection of…

Climate

A 50-year look at the activity of aphids, moths, butterflies…

Geophoto

The British Isles are packed with natural landmarks that serve…

Geophoto

The prestigious photography awards to go on display in some…

Tectonics

The discovery of a slow-motion earthquake near Istanbul, which took…

Oceans

The 2014 to 2016 marine heatwave, which took place off…

Climate

Marco Magrini discovers that hydrogen is back, but hopefully not…

Wildlife

 A ten-year analysis of chimpanzees has revealed that the presence…

Wildlife

The return of the pine marten to UK forests has…

Energy

A project in Orkney is converting excess wind energy into…

Geophoto

Mountains provide a dramatic sight at the best of times,…

Wildlife

A surge in reports of dead hares has resulted in…

Oceans

Four scientists have banded together to make the case against the farming of octopuses, arguing…

Climate

As planetary oil consumption hits the 100-million-barrel mark Marco Magrini…

Oceans

A ship that ran aground early in February has been…

Wildlife

Two whale populations on either side of the African continent…

Geophoto

March traditionally heralds the beginning of spring, a time of…

Wildlife

An innovative project to utilise Laos’ elephant experts in service…