Monday 22 April 2019

Butterfly numbers fall by 84% in Netherlands over 130 years – study

European insect populations shrink as farming leaves ‘hardly any room for nature’
Mon 1 Apr 2019 11.47 BSTLast modified on Mon 1 Apr 2019 13.36 BST
Butterflies have declined by at least 84% in the Netherlands over the last 130 years, according to a study, confirming the crisis affecting insect populations in western Europe.
Researchers analysed 120,000 butterflies caught by collectors between 1890 and 1980 as well as more recent scientific data from more than 2 million sightings to identify dramatic declines in the country’s 71 native butterfly species, 15 of which have become extinct over the last century.
“We are quite sure that the real decline must be much larger,” said Chris van Swaay, of Dutch Butterfly Conservation and one of the co-authors of the study.
The research follows warnings of catastrophic insect declines after a global review calculated that the total mass of insects was falling by 2.5% each year, and a German study found average flying insect abundance had declined by 76% over 27 years.

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