Study: 75% decrease in flying insects over 27 years
Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 7:18 PM - A study published Wednesday in the science journal PLOS has found the presence of flying insects has dropped by more than 75 percent in protected areas across Germany over the past 27 years.
While weather and changes in habitat appear to be contributing factors, researchers haven't determined the root cause of the dramatic decline.
"Insects play a crucial role in ecosystem functioning, pollinating 80 percent of wild plants and providing a food source for 60 percent of birds," reads a statement from the study's authors, adding the results "align with recently reported declines in vulnerable species such as butterflies, wild bees and moths, but also suggest a severe loss of total flying aerial biomass, suggesting that the entire flying insect community has been decimated over the last few decades."
For their study, researchers measured total flying insect biomass using specialized traps over 27 years across 63 protected sites in Germany.
The decline appears to be present in all habitat types.
"Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 percent," says lead author Caspar Hallmann from Radboud University in the Netherlands.
This decrease has long been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought."