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Flying insects in west German nature reserves suffer decline of more than 76% (1973–2000)
EC News Alert

Insect numbers in west German nature reserves have fallen by more than 76% in just 27 years, according to a new study. The fall was even higher in the summer months, with 82% on average fewer insects being recorded. The reasons for this dramatic fall are unclear. The researchers ruled out changes in weather, plant cover and local landscape playing a significant role in the observed decline, but suggest that intensive agriculture and pesticides in fields near to the reserves could be responsible. Whatever the cause, the catastrophic fall in insect numbers will inevitably lead to knock-on effects on ecosystems in the long term, particularly due to their essential role as pollinators and their position in the food web. The researchers say that preserving and protecting insects should now be a priority for conservation policies.

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