Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers
Three-quarters of flying insects in nature reserves across Germany have vanished in 25 years, with serious implications for all life on Earth, scientists say
18 October, 2017
The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists.
Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.
The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said.
The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.
“The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,” said Hans de Kroon, at Radboud University in the Netherlands and who led the new research.
“Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”
The research, published in the journal Plos One, is based on the work of dozens of amateur entomologists across Germany who began using strictly standardised ways of collecting insects in 1989. Special tents called malaise traps were used to capture more than 1,500 samples of all flying insects at 63 different nature reserves.
Malaise traps were set in protected areas in Germany as part of the study
The malaise traps set in protected areas and reserves, which scientists say makes the declines even more worrying. Photograph: Courtesy of Courtesy of Entomologisher Verein Krefeld
When the total weight of the insects in each sample was measured a startling decline was revealed. The annual average fell by 76% over the 27 year period, but the fall was even higher – 82% – in summer, when insect numbers reach their peak.
Previous reports of insect declines have been limited to particular insects, such European grassland butterflies, which have fallen by 50% in recent decades. But the new research captured all flying insects, including wasps and flies which are rarely studied, making it a much stronger indicator of decline.
The fact that the samples were taken in protected areas makes the findings even more worrying, said Caspar Hallmann at Radboud University, also part of the research team: “All these areas are protected and most of them are well-managed nature reserves. Yet, this dramatic decline has occurred.”
The amateur entomologists also collected detailed weather measurements and recorded changes to the landscape or plant species in the reserves, but this could not explain the loss of the insects. “The weather might explain many of the fluctuations within the season and between the years, but it doesn’t explain the rapid downward trend,” said Martin Sorg from the Krefeld Entomological Society in Germany, who led the amateur entomologists.
Goulson said a likely explanation could be that the flying insects perish when they leave the nature reserves. “Farmland has very little to offer for any wild creature,” he said. “But exactly what is causing their death is open to debate. It could be simply that there is no food for them or it could be, more specifically, exposure to chemical pesticides, or a combination of the two.”
In September, a chief scientific adviser to the UK government warned that regulators around the world have falsely assumed that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes and that the “effects of dosing whole landscapes with chemicals have been largely ignored”.
The scientists said further work is urgently needed to corroborate the new findings in other regions and to explore the issue in more detail. While most insects do fly, it may be that those that don’t, leave nature reserves less often and are faring better. It is also possible that smaller and larger insects are affected differently, and the German samples have all been preserved and will be further analysed.
In the meantime, said De Kroon: “We need to do less of the things that we know have a negative impact, such as the use of pesticides and the disappearance of farmland borders full of flowers.”
Lynn Dicks at the University of East Anglia, UK, and not involved in the new research said the work was convincing. “It provides important new evidence for an alarming decline that many entomologists have suspected is occurring for some time.”
“If total flying insect biomass is genuinely declining at this rate – about 6% per year – it is extremely concerning,” she said. “Flying insects have really important ecological functions, for which their numbers matter a lot. They pollinate flowers: flies, moths and butterflies are as important as bees for many flowering plants, including some crops. They provide food for many animals – birds, bats, some mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Flies, beetles and wasps are also predators and decomposers, controlling pests and cleaning up the place generally.”
Another way of sampling insects – car windscreens – has often been anecdotally used to suggest a major decline, with people remembering many more bugs squashed on their windscreens in the past.
“I think that is real,” said Goulson. “I drove right across France and back this summer – just when you’d expect your windscreen to be splattered all over – and I literally never had to stop to clean the windscreen.”
Someone took a lot of effort to try to persuade me to BAN “Natural News” (ie. Censor) and by so doing point my attention to the following article.
Even climate change deniers can bring some truth to the table.
I’d hate to cut out all views that do not coincide with my own. If I did I’d probably find myseelf rather lonely and in the company of folks that support war, fascism and Killary Clinton.
I invite people to use their own discriminative intellect instead of rushing down into the rabbit hole of censorship.
The global ecosystem is rapidly collapsing… insect biomass plummets 75% in one generation… scientists warn of “decimation”… humanity may not survive much longer
19 October, 2017
For years, I’ve warned that humanity is a suicide cult which has engineered its own destruction by relentlessly poisoning the natural world with chemical pesticides, heavy metals and GMOs. Now, the collapse of living systems across the planet is accelerating like never before, with ocean fisheries collapsing by the day, topsoil vanishing by the inch, and wildlife populations being decimated by the accelerating destruction of habitat.
Humanity, it seems, has broken the planet, and the mass die-offs are now impossible to ignore. Adding even more weight to the horrifying realization that humanity is committing mass ecological suicide, a new study published in the science journal PLoS One has documented a 75 percent decline in insect biomass over rural Germany in just the last 27 years.
The study, authored by Caspar A. Hallmann and others, is entitled, “More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas.”
The abstract of the study, which should be screaming alarm bells over the devastating collapse of the food chain in Europe, reports rather mildly:
Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.
Even more concerning is the fact that this insect decline was observed in “protected areas” that are supposed to preserve and protect wildlife. As the study authors explain in their conclusion:
The widespread insect biomass decline is alarming, ever more so as all traps were placed in protected areas that are meant to preserve ecosystem functions and biodiversity… our results illustrate an ongoing and rapid decline in total amount of airborne insects active in space and time.
The food web is now collapsing… insects are just the beginning
The stunning news of this insect biomass collapse is, of course, just the beginning of a series of events that will ultimately spell doom for humanity unless causative factors are quickly reversed. Insects are the pillars of the food web, providing protein and nutrients to bats, birds and reptiles, among other animals. When the insect population collapses, nutrient depletion cascades up the food chain, causing devastating declines in populations of larger animals upon which ecological diversity depends.
As the study authors explain:
[The insect biomass collapse] must have cascading effects across trophic levels and numerous other ecosystem effects. There is an urgent need to uncover the causes of this decline, its geographical extent, and to understand the ramifications of the decline for ecosystems and ecosystem services.
Even more worrisome, insects are the pollinators that keep 80% of wild plants aliveby facilitating pollination. When insect populations collapse, pollination of wild food sources — as well as many domesticated food sources such as almonds — also face imminent collapse. Without insects, in other words, human populations will also collapse within just a few years as the ripple effect of insect die-offs works its way up the food chain.
The rapid timetable of this collapse is nothing short of alarming, if not catastrophic. As the chart shows, below — sourced from the PLoS One journal article — the biomass decline from 1989 to 2016 is catastrophic. The second chart, below, shows how insect biomass loss is even more pronounced during summer months:
Warming temperatures actually increased insect biomass, so this isn’t a “climate change” problem
The study carefully documented variations in temperature, wind speed, humidity and other environmental factors in an effort to determine root causes of biomass variance. Interestingly, the study was able to determine that warming temperatures did not reduce insect biomass. In fact, the warmer the temperature, the more insect biomass was measured.
In other words, “global warming” actually increases insect biomass, so this is one phenomenon that can’t be blamed on the climate change hoax. From the study results:
Over the course of the study period, some temporal changes occurred in the means of the weather variables (S2 Fig), most notably an increase by 0.5°C in mean temperature and a decline 0.2 m/sec in mean wind speed. Yet, these changes either do not have an effect on insect biomass (e.g. wind speed) either are expected to positively affected insect biomass (e.g. increased temperature).
The conclusion of the paper specifically rules out “climate change” as an explanatory factor, saying, “…[O]ur analysis renders two of the prime suspects, i.e. landscape and climate change as unlikely explanatory factors for this major decline in aerial insect biomass in the investigated protected areas.”
In fact, the paper points out that warming temperatures are actually saving the insects to some degree by compensating for some other factor that’s killing them off:
Our final model, based on including all significant variables from previous models, revealed a higher trend coefficient as compared to our basic model (log(λ) = −0.081, sd = 0.006, Table 4), suggesting that temporal developments in the considered explanatory variables counteracted biomass decline to some degree, leading to an even more negative coefficient for the annual trend.
Insect biomass “decimated” in mere decades… this won’t end well
The study authors were unable to pinpoint a specific cause for the collapse of insect biomass, but that’s likely because they did not measure pesticide exposure, GMO pollution or other chemical contaminants that severely impact insect populations.
Even without that knowledge, the study authors concluded the rapid decline in insect biomass was catastrophic:
Our results demonstrate that recently reported declines in several taxa such as butterflies [7, 25–27, 58], wild bees [8–14] and moths [15–18], are in parallel with a severe loss of total aerial insect biomass, suggesting that it is not only the vulnerable species, but the flying insect community as a whole, that has been decimated over the last few decades…
The authors also affirm they are aware that pesticide exposure could be one of the plausible explanations for the collapse, stating:
Agricultural intensification (e.g. pesticide usage, year-round tillage, increased use of fertilizers and frequency of agronomic measures) that we could not incorporate in our analyses, may form a plausible cause. The reserves in which the traps were placed are of limited size in this typical fragmented West-European landscape, and almost all locations (94%) are enclosed by agricultural fields.
Intensive agricultural practices, in other words, are a primary suspect in this devastation of insect populations. And that points directly to pesticides and herbicides — chemical poisons that are developed specifically to kill living things.
Unless something changes, humanity won’t even survive long enough to cause sustained global warming
All this brings me to (at least) one obvious point: While the left-wing media and science talking heads are losing their minds over so-called “climate change” — an entirely made-up problem — even their own predictions only show tiny increases in ocean levels over the next hundred years.
Yet the collapse of insect populations is happening now, with devastating consequences already initiated that may spell doom for a global human population of over 7 billion people, all of whom demand food on a regular basis. Without insects, the food supply collapses. Without food, human populations collapse. And without humans, there is no sustained global warming problem to worry about anyway.
In other words, climate change alarmists are focusing on the wrong crisis. If we don’t figure out what’s decimating the insects — and it’s very likely agricultural chemical contamination of our world — then nobody will be around to burn fossil fuels and run the coal plants anyway. Global warming, in other words, is not a problem if everybody dies from starvation because the global food web collapses.
Climate change cultists are ignoring the real problems that threaten all of human civilization
Yet isn’t it fascinating how the entire climate change cult that demands totalitarian control over our lives in order to “save the planet” absolutely refuses to acknowledge any consequences whatsoever from agricultural pesticides and GMO genetic pollution? While the natural world is collapsing around them, all they wish for is more power, profit and control over nations and economies.
These science imbeciles are ignoring the real causes of catastrophic collapse, all while patting themselves on the back and proclaiming they are the science saviors of our world: Al Gore, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and other climate change cultists who typify the idiocy-celebrity status of those who hide behind fake science to portray themselves as Christ-like saviors for a world that’s crumbling for reasons they absolutely refuse to acknowledge.
That’s why I’ve dubbed humanity a “suicide cult.” No one in a position of power cares about anything other than their own fame, fortune and perceived brilliance. No one in a position of authority has any empathy or compassion for preserving the natural world and its essential ecosystems. Every sector of politics has been exploited, distorted and reformed into idiotic propaganda parades featuring a steady stream of academic morons who reject scientific reason in favor of political obedience and left-wing conformity.
Consequently, “science” is dead. And soon, unless something drastically changes, humanity will be too.