Insectageddon

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Insectageddon

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TRAVEL TO EUROPE TO INVESTIGATE THE DECLINE OF THE INSECT POPULATION, THREATENING ENTIRE ECOSYSTEMS, AND DISCOVER THE CAUSES AND STEPS IN PLACE TO REVERSE THE DECLINE

Remember when a country drive ended with the windscreen covered in smashed insects? Ever wondered why that seems to happen less these days?

Now a landmark German study has come up with a possible explanation. Conducted over thirty years, scientists in the city of Krefeld have documented a collapse in that country’s insect population. Those findings are backed up by another study across the border in the Netherlands which concludes a sharp drop in wildlife populations.

The scientists are warning that a crash of insect numbers could directly threaten not only the birds and other animals which prey on them but also, the plants that rely on them for pollination.

The impacts on agriculture could be dire. Ironically, the culprit is believed to be farm-based insecticides. At its worst, this may be the realisation of US biologist Rachel Carson’s famous 1960s “Silent Spring” prediction of eco-system decline.

But the good news is that the Europeans are fighting back. In Germany, after a citizen-led petition to protect insects, the state of Bavaria mandated that a third of all farmland must be organic by 2030. And ordinary people are paying farmers to plant flowers instead of crops.
In the Netherlands, scientists are planting wildlife corridors to create safe passages for our flying friends.

Reporter Eric Campbell meets the passionate characters chronicling our bugs’ lives. He joins entomologists trapping and counting insects in Germany, biologists measuring the effects on bird and frog populations in the Netherlands, and tweedy British nature lovers chasing butterflies and bumble bees in the woods of Kent.

All have a passion for their tiny subjects, and a sense of urgency about the steps needed to avoid...Insectageddon.

Credits

Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation