RESEARCH: Insect numbers are decreasing

German researchers wanted to determine the effects of urbanisation on insect numbers. They found that insects are disappearing more quickly than they expected.

The researchers collected more than one million insects across 300 sites in Germany in 2008. They did the same exercise in the same sites 10 years later in 2018. They wrote about their experiment results in the Nature journal in 2019.

They found that there was a 40% reduction (loss) in the number of insects in forests.

They also found that there was a 67% reduction (loss) in the number of insects in grasslands.

The biggest losses in insect numbers were in grasslands that were surrounded by intensely farmed land. 

The most impacted species of insects were those that could not travel far (such as insects without wings and those that do not fly far). 

The researchers concluded that the results indicate the need for coordinated large-scale initiatives to save insects instead of stand-alone local projects. However, they recognize the need to start local and expand to national and global initiatives. 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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