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75% decrease in flying insects over 27 years

21 October 2017

Insects are in serious danger. "Many of these preserves are islands surrounded by farmland, which may act as a sink for insects, resulting in a steady flow out from these lands", says study author and ecologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

These creatures are remarkable subjects of study due to what they represent to humanity.

Of course, this represents a threat for us in many ways.

They stressed the importance of adopting measures known to be beneficial for insects, including strips of flowers around farmland and minimising the effects of intensive agriculture.

Many native tribes also consider insects quite important. The study provides that 60% of birds need insects for food and almost 80% of plant life relies on them for pollination. In the middle of summer, when insect numbers peak, the decline was even more severe at 82 percent.

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Hans de Kroon, project leader at Radboud University, said: "The fact that flying insects are decreasing at..." "And what's more, this decline happened in nature reserves that are meant to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem functioning". When the insect flies into the "tent", it directs it to a collecting vessel at the highest part of the structure.

"This is one of the most exciting papers I have read in a while", writes Joe Nocera, an assistant professor who studies population ecology at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, in an email to The Scientist.

Hallman said that anything found within the Malaise trap was easy to analyze due to the number of insects collected in it.

The researchers discovered an average decline of 76 percent in the total insect mass.

The researchers chose to investigate flying insects in particular because, in Germany, out of the approximately 33,000 insect species that are present, over 90 percent are those that fly. Of course, he can't define what situation non-flying insects are facing.

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Scientists had been aware of the decline in the number of insects - which they describe as "the windscreen phenomenon", where there seem to be fewer squashed insects on vehicle windows than there was in the past. Insects in preserves around the world likely face a similarly precarious fate. On their observations, the researchers reported in the journal PLoS One. To minimize the impact on flying insect communities, the team did not investigate each location annually.

In the study, researchers conducted a "census" 60 nature reserves created in Germany over the past century.

Within Germany, scientists also saw a decline in plant species richness near to the zones where they put the tramps.

The meticulous sampling of flying insects over so many sites and so many years yielded a dataset that is unique in the world, de Kroon told Seeker. Scientists say that the drop in populations could place ecosystems in jeopardy.

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75% decrease in flying insects over 27 years