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Insect decline prompts new 'eco church' plea

Thu 19 Oct 2017
By Alex Williams

Churches are being urged to leave bug boxes in their yards this winter after researchers found flying insect numbers in continental Europe are declining.

Introducing native plants is another way congregations can help boost butterflies, bees and moth populations, Arocha UK said.

A fresh call by the Christian conservation charity for more to consider joining their 'eco churches' initiative was prompted after a new study concluded flying insect populations have been "decimated" in Germany.

Conservation director, Andy Lester told Premier: "It is serious; many places are reporting insect losses of over 70 per cent in the last 20 years.

"Those are catastrophic declines and, if they are to continue, then we are in real difficulty."

Research published in the Public Library of Science ONE journal reported a decline of more than three-quarters in the biomass of flying insects over a 27 year period.

 

Lead researcher, Dr Caspar Hallmann from Radboud University in The Netherlands, said: "Since 1989, in 63 nature reserves in Germany the total biomass of flying insects has decreased by more than 75 per cent.

"This decrease has long been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought."

Under the 'eco churches' initiative, churches commit to praying about environmental issues and preaching on the care of God's earth in sermons, Bible study groups and youth groups.

Biologist at the University of Sussex, Dave Goulson said the findings are extremely worrying for everyone, explaining: "Three quarters of the crops we grow depend upon pollenating insects.

"They're food for umpteen other organisms so, if we lose the insects, we'd lose of our birds."

Click here to listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking with Arocha UK's Andy Lester:

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