March 01, 2018

The Back Page: Vanishing Insects?

Jonathan P. Scoll

In recent years, I’ve noticed fewer bug splatters on my windshield on summer car trips across the Midwest, where I live. In 2016, my internet search on “flying insect decline,” turned up a July 6, 2016, article by the journalist Christian Schwägerl, author of a popular book on the “Anthropocene,” in Yale Environment 360, “What’s Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters,” http://e360.yale.edu/features/insect_numbers_declining_why_it_matters. Schwägerl reported on research findings, including an ongoing investigation in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and other investigations, all showing insect populations in dramatic decline in many parts of the world, attributing this to factors from monoculture farming to habitat loss.

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