FLYING INSECT NUMBERS ARE PLUMMETING IN GERMAN PROTECTED AREAS
A new study by entomologists from the Radboud University, the Entomological Society Krefeld and Sussex University shows a dramatic decline in the abundance of flying insects that has instigated an outcry that an “ecological Armageddon” is bound to happen.
By looking at the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups in nature reserves across Germany, instead of changes in insect biomass, the scientists have indicated a more accurate way of mapping the ecological functioning of flying insects. Special tents called malaise traps captured more than 1,500 samples of all flying insects at 63 different nature reserves. The outcome of the research that covers 27 years of study in 63 nature protection areas in Germany showed that there was an average fall of 76% in the flying entomofauna. In the light of this conclusion, this loss may have both known and unknown effects on the natural landscape and its inhabitants. It remains a difficult task, however, to determine the exact causes of the sharp decline. With the natural reserves being fully surrounded by agricultural lands that have undergone intensified usage in the last decades, a severe draining and aggravating effect on the protected areas leads the scientists to believe that this may be one of possible factors involved.
For more information about the study, please consider its source article:
Hallmann CA, Sorg M, Jongejans E, Siepel H, Hofland N, Schwan H, et al. (2017) More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLoS ONE12(10): e0185809. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0185809