Dramatic decline in insects in Netherlands

Over the past decades there's been a "dramatic" decline in the number of ground beetles and moths in two nature reserves in the Netherlands, according to Natuurmonumenten. The number of ground beetles declined by 72 percent in Wijster in Drenthe over the past 22 years, and the number of moths by 54 percent in Kaaistoep in Noord-Brabant over the past 20 years, NU.nl reports.

Natuurmonumenten commissioned scientists from Radboud University and EIS Knowledce Center for Insects to perform two long term studies on insect populations in these nature reserves. Moths and ground beetles are insect groups that contain a total of 1,100 species, about six percent of all insect species that occur in the Netherlands.

"The results are in line with the German study that was published at the end of 2017 which showed that 76 percent of the insects have disappeared in the past 27 years. The number of studies with ominous reports is accumulating rapidly", Marc van den Tweel, director of Natuurmonumenten, said, according to the newspaper. 

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture recently sent a report to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, that stated that the decline in insect groups may be caused by the use of phosphates, nitrogen and pesticides in agriculture. Water company Vitens also recently raised concerns about the effect of such substances on the Netherlands' drinking water. 

Natuurmonumenten calls for action to be taken against such substances. According to the nature conservation organization, no other European country uses pesticides as intensively as the Netherlands. "We have to change our approach to less chemistry, more biology and more innovation", Van den Tweel said. 


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