Flying insects may well be on their way to becoming a rarity, believes a newly released study which monitored the flying insect populations of more than 60 nature protection areas in Germany.
The research, which spanned over almost three decades, found that over 75 percent of the local insect population of such areas dropped by over 75 percent in just 27 years.
Flying Insect Populations and Their Worldwide Importance
Germany’s Entomological Society Krefeld and the Netherlands’ Radboud University researchers are behind this new study. This was conducted in 63 nature reserves in Germany and had the specialists install Malaise traps.
This a specialized net that helps capture flying insects and then measure their biomass or weight. The insect catch of every trap was followed and calculated over a period of 27 years, which helped draw the study’s conclusions.
These found a worrisome in the flying insect numbers, with all the flying critters being “clumped together” and included in the results.
The results show that, for the mid-summer period, the flying insect populations registered a drop of over 82 percent. The general results were far from being better, as flying insects revealed a more than 76 percent decline in numbers in less than three decades and in a protected area as well.
This is among the most worrisome aspects of the study, underline the researchers. They consider that, if this massive drop is happening in protected nature areas, it is also likely taking place “everywhere else” as well.
The decline could be even more prominent in urban as well as in agricultural areas. According to this report on the matter, the drop in numbers cannot be explained by changes in the weather, habitat characteristics, or land use.
“The flying insect community as a whole has been decimated over the last few decades,” the study writes. “Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services.”
The researchers believe that an extension of the national reserve areas as well as a lower use of pesticides might help decrease this significant decline in the number of flying insects.
Detailed study findings and conclusions and suggestions are available in a paper in the journal PLOS One.
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