What’s Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters

On three occasions from 1989 to 2014, entomologists set up tents in the meadows and woodlands of the Orbroicher Bruch nature reserve and 87 other areas in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The tents act as insect traps and enable the scientists to calculate how many bugs live in an area over a full summer period. Recently, researchers presented the results of their work to parliamentarians from the German Bundestag, and the findings were alarming: The average biomass of insects caught between May and October has steadily decreased from 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds) per trap in 1989 to just 300 grams (10.6 ounces) in 2014.

“The decline is dramatic and depressing and it affects all kinds of insects, including butterflies, wild bees, and hoverflies,” says Martin Sorg, an entomologist from the Krefeld Entomological Association involved in running the monitoring project.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/insect_numbers_declining_why_it_matters

photo credit: matthewbeziat

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