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The death of insects in Germany is of alarming proportions
In recent decades there have been fewer and fewer insects in Germany. The development has now reached worrying proportions. According to the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), every third insect species in this country is threatened with extinction.
Why do so many insects die? NABU and the Justus Liebig University in Gießen want to answer this question as part of a comprehensive research project. The aim of the project is to record and document the diversity of insects in German nature reserves and to determine which food plants are used by the individual insects.
A third of all insect species are threatened
"A third of the 33,000 insect species found in Germany are endangered," emphasizes NABU Federal Managing Director Leif Miller in a press release on the new project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with 4.2 million euros. Miller believes that intensive land use is responsible for insect death. The project aims to clarify, among other things, how the use of pesticides and the loss of insect-friendly structures through agricultural areas affect neighboring nature reserves.
Insects are irreplaceable for the ecosystem and for humans
"The functioning of almost all ecosystems depends on insects," writes NABU in an FAQ on insect death. They are irreplaceable for humans and nature. Because insects perform a variety of tasks in nature:
- They serve as a food source for birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
- They pollinate around 90 percent of all plant species worldwide and thus ensure the majority of human and animal nutrition.
- The balance between beneficials and pests prevents damage in forestry and agriculture.
- As a processor of organic matter such as plant remains and animal corpses, insects play a crucial role in the remineralization of soils.
Call to all garden owners: Promotes the insects
Many people today want an easy-care garden. Insects do not find enough food in gravel beds, on slab areas and in monotonous lawns. Every garden owner can do his part to curb insect death. Because "if you take all of Germany's private gardens together, you get an area that is roughly half the size of all of Germany's protected areas," NABU says in a message. This shows the enormous potential that is in our gardens.
Simple means for an insect-friendly garden
With simple measures, the garden can be made more insect-friendly in a short time. "With a wild herb bed, a dead wood corner or just a small wild section in the garden, everyone can create a habitat for insects," says NABU. These measures also require little maintenance. In return, the garden owners benefit from this, because a larger biodiversity in the garden keeps unwanted insects away and the plants healthy. (vb)