'Ecological Armageddon' warning over insect loss

'Ecological Armageddon' warning over insect loss

'Ecological Armageddon' warning over insect loss

At 82 percent, the decline of insects biomass during midsummer, when insects populations tend to peak, proved more severe than the annual average decline. "This decrease has always been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought".

De Kroon, along with Caspar Hallmann and others from Radboud University, paired up with colleagues from Entomological Society Krefeld in Germany who had begun collecting nature preserve insect biomass data more than two decades ago.

Although much attention has been paid to the decline of bees and butterflies, the latest findings suggest a problem with a much wider scope. Three years later, scientists are still trying to warn the public of the seriousness of the issue, calling the loss of wildlife a "biological annihilation" in a published paper.

The decline appears to be present in all habitat types.

These large, tent-like Malaise have been used by scientists since 1930.

For their study, researchers measured total flying insect biomass using specialized traps over 27 years across 63 protected sites in Germany.

"We can only assess the overall decline over the study period, and are not able to look into the temporal variability in the rate of decline", Hallmann said.

And they said there was an urgent need to uncover the causes and extent of the decline in all airborne insects. They considered that speculate intensive agriculture and pesticide have more of the fault than any other thing. Changes in the weather, landscape and plant variety in these areas are unable to explain this.

Mr Goulsen said a possible explanation would be insects dying when they fly out of nature reserves into farmland "with very little to offer for any wild creature". "But the 75 percent decline reported here sends a clear call for immediate action".

"As entire ecosystems are dependent on insects for food and as pollinators, it places the decline of insect eating birds and mammals in a new context", said researcher Hans de Kroon.

While noting they had not "exhaustively analyzed the climatic variables" that may have impacted populations, such as "prolonged droughts, or lack of sunshine especially in low temperatures", they also suggested "agricultural intensification (e.g. pesticide usage, year-round tillage, increased use of fertilizers and frequency of agronomic measures) that we could not incorporate in our analyses, may form a plausible cause".

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