More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas

Published on Oct 18, 2017in PLOS ONE2.78
· DOI :10.1371/journal.pone.0185809
Caspar A. Hallmann7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Radboud University Nijmegen),
Martin Sorg1
Estimated H-index: 1
+ 9 AuthorsHans de Kroon45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Radboud University Nijmegen)
Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning. Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna. Our analysis estimates a seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over the 27 years of study. We show that this decline is apparent regardless of habitat type, while changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline. This yet unrecognized loss of insect biomass must be taken into account in evaluating declines in abundance of species depending on insects as a food source, and ecosystem functioning in the European landscape.
Figures & Tables
  • References (54)
  • Citations (234)
#1Osgur McDermott Long (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 1
#2Rachel Warren (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 29
Last.Aldina M. A. Franco (UEA: University of East Anglia)H-Index: 19
view all 6 authors...
#1Jan Christian Habel (TUM: Technische Universität München)H-Index: 25
#2Andreas SegererH-Index: 1
Last.Thomas Schmitt (MLU: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)H-Index: 26
view all 6 authors...
#1Julie A. Ewald (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 8
#2Christopher J. Wheatley (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 4
Last.Michael B. Morecroft (Natural England)H-Index: 1
view all 7 authors...
#1Jeff Ollerton (University of Northampton)H-Index: 34
#2Hilary E. Erenler (University of Northampton)H-Index: 3
Last.Robin G M Crockett (University of Northampton)H-Index: 14
view all 4 authors...
#1Louie H. Yang (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 23
#2Claudio Gratton (UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison)H-Index: 39
Cited By234
#1Sebastian Kolb (University of Koblenz and Landau)H-Index: 1
#2Deniz UzmanH-Index: 1
Last.Martin H. Entling (University of Koblenz and Landau)H-Index: 18
view all 0 authors...
#1Marianne Bruus (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 4
#2Jes J. Rasmussen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 18
Last.Peter Wiberg-Larsen (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 14
view all 9 authors...
#1Matthias Liess (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ)H-Index: 47
#2Toni RatteH-Index: 1
Last.Henner Hollert (RWTH Aachen University)H-Index: 40
view all 4 authors...
#1David J. Duffy (Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience)
#2Mark Q. Martindale (Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience)H-Index: 58
#1Sara L. Hermann (PSU: Pennsylvania State University)H-Index: 6
#2Carissa Blackledge (MSU: Michigan State University)
Last.Douglas A. Landis (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 49
view all 0 authors...
#1Nico Eisenhauer (Leipzig University)H-Index: 42
#2Aletta Bonn (FSU: University of Jena)H-Index: 26
Last.Carlos A. Guerra (MLU: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)H-Index: 4
view all 3 authors...
View next paperGlobal pollinator declines: trends, impacts and drivers