Germany has less flying insects than 27 years ago

Insects within alcohol Malaise trapENTOMOLOGICAL SOCIETY KREFELD

Scientists were stunned by the results of their study and were left scratching their heads about the primary cause behind the population decline of different insects such as bees, moths, and butterflies. "This decrease has always been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought".

"We were highly surprised by the extent of the decline of over 75 percent, which took place in just 27 years", University's Institute for Water and Wetland Research and lead author, Caspar Hallmann of Radboud, told The Seeker.

"Therefore", de Kroon continued, "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".

Additionally, which could be more related, scientists also saw that the number of insect-eating birds has also dramatically decreased throughout Western Europe in these last years. They found a seasonal decline of 76% and a mid-summer drop of 82%, which showed them that the decline was happening regardless of the insects' habitat.

"Insects make up about two thirds of all life on Earth", noted report co-author Dave Goulson, a professor at Sussex University in the United Kingdom.

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The researchers discovered an average decline of 76 percent in the total insect mass. According to Caspar Hallmann (Radboud University), who performed the statistical analyses, "All these areas are protected and majority are managed nature reserves". "Many of these preserves are islands surrounded by farmland, which may act as a sink for insects, resulting in a steady flow out from these lands", says study author and ecologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

The exact causes of the decline are still unclear.

In the study, researchers conducted a "census" 60 nature reserves created in Germany over the past century. "It is possible that these areas act as an "ecological trap" and jeopardize the populations in the nature reserves", explains Hallmann.

Researchers are concerned because insects are important pollinators and also a key part of the food chain, serving as meals for birds and other small creatures. The researchers hope that these findings will be seen as a wake-up call and prompt more research into the causes and support for long-term monitoring. We need to do less of the things that we know have a negative impact, such as the use of pesticides and prevent the disappearance of farmland borders full of flowers.

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