Butterfly numbers down by two-thirds—scientists call for a change in agricultural approaches

phys.org | 3/19/2019 | Staff
chrismpottschrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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Together with a German/Polish team, Senckenberg scientist Thomas Schmitt studied the effects of various land use models on the butterfly fauna. The researchers show that meadows adjacent to high-intensity agricultural areas are home to less than half the number of butterfly species than areas in nature preserves. The number of individuals is even down to one-third of that number. In their study, which was recently published in the scientific journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the scientists emphasize the need for a more environmentally friendly agriculture.

Germany is home to roughly 33,500 species of insects – but their numbers are decreasing dramatically. Of the 189 species of butterflies currently known from Germany, 99 species are on the Red List, 5 have already become extinct, and 12 additional species are threatened with extinction. "We assume that this negative trend is primarily due to the industrialization of agriculture," explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt, the director of the Senckenberg German Entomological Institute in Müncheberg, Brandenburg, and he continues, "In our new study, we examined the specific effects of the intensity of agricultural use on the butterfly fauna."

End - Research - Team - Schmitt - Occurrence

To this end, the research team around Schmitt recorded the occurrence of butterfly species in 21 meadow sites east of Munich. Of these study sites, 17 are surrounded by agriculturally used areas, and 4 are...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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