Scientists have examined more than a million insects in the forests and glades of Germany and find that their numbers are decreasing by a third. And all this in just 10 years.
Even if you do not like insects and are afraid of spiders, you should not rejoice at their extinction. According to the results of the research, the number of insects and spiders is reduced in forests and meadows throughout Germany. Scientists described the results as “disturbing,” saying that the losses were due to the intensive development of agriculture. Researchers are calling for a “paradigm shift” in land and use policies to preserve the habitat of butterflies, beetles and other flying insects. The latest analysis, published in the journal Nature , confirms that some species of insects are on the path to extinction. But why is it bad for our planet?
Mankind has endangered a million species
A number of recent studies have revealed the extinction of insect populations around the world. According to Dr. Sebastian Seybold of the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the reasons for the decline in insect numbers are related to agricultural practices. “Our study confirms that the reduction in the number of insects is real – it can be even more widespread than previously thought, given, for example, that there is also a decrease in the number of insects in the forests,” the scientist told BBC News .
One of the initiators of the research project, Professor at the University of Munich – Wolfgang Weisser, commented:
“Such a massive reduction in the number of insects in just 10 years was a complete surprise to us. This is a frightening phenomenon! “
Researchers note that such a decrease occurs not only in areas with intensive agricultural management, but also in protected areas – therefore, sites that, according to scientists, protect biodiversity, are useless. Recall that earlier this year a report was published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecological Systems (IPBES) on the state of wildlife. According to the findings of researchers, humanity endangered about a million species of animals. Some experts do not hide their pessimistic mood and call what is happening with wildlife “the sixth mass extinction.” And the results of recent studies have recorded a decrease in the diversity of butterflies.
What happens if insects disappear?
The research team recorded data on more than a million individual insects and spiders (2,700 different species) on hundreds of pastures and forest lands in three regions of Germany from 2008 to 2017. In the course of the work, the researchers found that a noticeable reduction in the number and number of species both in meadows and forests, with the main factors (at least for meadows), is associated with intensive development of agriculture and an increase in land intended for agricultural needs.
Many other studies in recent years have shown that certain species of insects , such as bees, have been hit hard, especially in developed countries. Scientists note that one of the main reasons for the disappearance of bees lies in pesticides that spray numerous fields and meadows around the world. However, some species of insects such as flies and cockroaches appear to be on the rise. Agree, this is an alarming bell, because cockroaches and flies are carriers of infections. And the further extinction of insect populations will inevitably lead to the appearance of a huge number of pests.
Killing insects has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems, experts warn. Not so long ago, we told you that a number of recent studies have revealed that soil contamination with microplastics causes earthworms to lose weight. And the reduction in the number of insects is associated with intensive farming, pesticides and climate change. Together, these factors threaten the general condition of ecosystems. Thus, the picture of the future looms rather gloomy. And above all, because insects are a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, not to mention plants that rely on insects for pollination.