Alarming declines of insects and birds in Germany.

A recently published study reveals an alarming decline of flying insects amounting to 76 percent over 27 years.

The data were obtained by placing standard-sized traps in 63 different habitats in Germany. The catch of insects was weighed each year and totalled 53 kilograms. The results were analyzed by a scientist at Nijmegen University in the Netherlands.

The dramatic decline in insects parallels the results of a closely-linked second study, which reported a decline of 15 percent in birds, based on nesting survey data received by the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union.

Researchers estimated that 12.7 million breeding birds had been lost over the past 12 years. The main species affected was the starling, but also sparrows, finches, and skylarks had declined. All of these birds feed their young on insects.

The causes of the startling declines were complex, but believed to be connected to the use of pesticides and insecticides, and probably fertilizers, as well as changes in agricultural methods, including the clearing of edge habitat between ever-enlarging fields.

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