Decline in insect populations

Billedresultat for bumblebee

Several studies report what appears to be a substantial decline in insect populations. Some of the insects most affected include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, dragonflies and damselflies. Anecdotal evidence has been offered of much greater apparent abundance of insects in the 20th century; recollections of the windscreen phenomenon are an example. 

Possible causes of the decline have been identified as habitat destruction, including intensive agriculture, the use of pesticides (particularly insecticides), urbanization, and industralization; introduced species; and climate change. Not all insect orders are affected in the same way; many groups are the subject of limited research, and comparative figures from earlier decades are often not available. The decline of the scientific field of entomology may also be contributing to errors in data analysis and overgeneralization from limited findings, resulting in exaggeration of the decline in insect populations.

In 2018 the German government initiated an “Action Programme for Insect Protection”,  and in 2019 a group of 27 British entomologists and ecologists wrote an open letter calling on the research establishment in the UK “to enable intensive investigation of the real threat of ecological disruption caused by insect declines without delay”.

An annual decline of 5.2% in flying insect biomass found in nature reserves in Germany – about 75% loss in 26 years.

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