“Ecological Armageddon” – more evidence for the drastic decline in insect numbers

Four years ago a group of German entomologists reported that there had been a huge reduction in the biomass of insects caught using Malaise traps sited in 63 German nature reserves since 1989 (Sorg et al., 2013). This shocking observation went almost unnoticed until a reanalysis of the data appeared recently (Hallmann et al., 2017). The latter paper generated a flurry of media activity and the phrase “Ecological Armageddon” swiftly circled the globe. Although not denying the decline reported, there are a number of caveats that should be considered when reading the two papers; the data are based on biomass, not species, the sites were not sampled continuously and are not globally representative (Saunders, 2017). The authors of the German study were not able to link the observed decline to climate change or pesticide use; although agricultural intensification and the practices associated with it, were, however, suggested as likely to be involved in some way. The link between habitat, insect diversity and abundance has been recognised for more than a century as illustrated by the following quotation,

Click on the link for more information: “Ecological Armageddon” – more evidence for the drastic decline in insect numbers – Leather – 2017 – Annals of Applied Biology – Wiley Online Library