Warning of 'ecological armageddon' as number of flying insects drops 75%

Warning of 'ecological armageddon' as number of flying insects drops 75%

Three quarters of bees, butterflies and other flying insects have disappeared from nature reserves in only 25 years in what scientists fear is a sign of "ecological Armageddon".

While the study did not pinpoint a reason for the drop, researchers said many nature reserves are encircled by farm fields, and that pesticides could be to blame.

"Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth", Dave Goulson, a biologist at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and a co-author of the new study, said in a statement.

Hallman states: "Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 percent".

A researcher who is unconnected to the study, Lynn Dicks from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, told the BBC that the study provides new evidence for "an alarming decline" that many entomologists have suspected for some time.

Insects provide a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, while plants rely on insects for pollination.

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"This analysis is a good first cut of the data and I suspect, with further analyses, [the authors] can understand which of the species are decreasing because most certainly, it is not a 76-percent decrease of all of the species", says Krupke. After 27 years, the total average weight has been declined by more than 75 percent.

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.

The is worrisome because the study took place in protected areas, indicating the decline of flying insect populations in other areas, such as agricultural or urban areas, could be more prominent, Latty noted.

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

"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". "It is possible that these areas act as an "ecological trap" and jeopardize the populations in the nature reserves", explains Hallmann.

The exact causes of the decline are still unclear. "The research areas are mostly small and enclosed by agricultural areas". 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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