The plan also promises to phase out all use of glyphosate, the world’s most common weed killer, by December 2023.
The broad-spectrum herbicide often ends up killing the native plants insects rely on.
My feelings won’t be hurt if you scroll past my feedback, to the article!
Hopefully the “research” won’t be headed up by co-opted universities:
From: Sandra Finley
Sent: September 9
To: Gretchen Vogel (the journalist)
Subject: re €100 million German insect protection plan will protect . . .
Thank-you for your report in Science Mag on the insect protection plan for Germany.
I am circulating your article further into my networks.
Here in North America, given the influence of the ag-chem-biotech transnationals on Universities, I would greet news of Government funding for “research” with a heavy dose of skepticism.
Government funding of research would go to the Universities (e.g. University of Saskatchewan’s claimed “Global” Institute for Food Security and/or to the U of S College of Agriculture). The research and teaching done by scientists (professors) is heavily compromised. Bayer-Monsanto and other ag-chemical-biotech transnationals are infiltrated into the political-economic system here. The bending of the “knowledge base” of democracy to shape it into a tool of the corporations began in the early 1980’s.
(Also, we don’t need “more research”. We know what needs to be done, and the consequences of not doing it. “More research” is a delay-and-they’ll-forget-it tactic. But in the immediate moment it offers hope – – it puts people back to sleep. Aaah. Someone is looking after it for us!)
I don’t know the extent to which the German company Bayer is infiltrated into the scientific community in Germany and into the Government-behind-the-scenes – – the people who write the legislation, those whose job is to regulate, and those who are supposed to enforce the laws and regulations. In this instance, the specific is the “Crop Science” branch of Bayer. Bayer-Monsanto (both companies) have been entrenched at universities here for a long time, steering the teaching and the research.
The analysis from the Wall Street Journal (link below) points to the fact that the largest market for Bayer’s chemicals is on this side of the Atlantic, not in Europe; in other words, Bayer will survive. (Well maybe it won’t. Resistance is huge, it’s what drove Monsanto into the arms of Bayer.)
Thank-you again for your article, we’ll put it to good use.
Sandra Finley (contact info)
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€100 million German insect protection plan will protect habitats, restrict weed killers, and boost research, Science Magazine
BERLIN—Save the whales, sure. But save the dung beetles? In 2017, researchers reported a dramatic loss of insects in Germany’s nature reserves: 76% less biomass over 3 decades. Spurred by wide public concern about the findings, the federal government announced on 4 September a €100 million “action plan for insect protection,” which includes at least €25 million a year for research and monitoring of insect populations.
“This takes several steps in the right direction,” says Lars Krogmann, an entomologist at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany, who with colleagues last year published a nine-point plan with recommendations for reversing insect population declines.
The government plan includes some of those recommendations, such as protecting insect habitats like meadows and hedges. “The insect decline is closely tied to a decline of habitats,” he says. For example, many traditional hay meadows—important habitats for native plants, insects, and other animals—have disappeared as farmers convert them to fields of fast-growing grass for animal feed, adding fertilizer and mowing every few weeks instead of once or twice a year. Farmers have also expanded their fields, plowing former hedgerows and verges. The plan, which is expected to become law in the coming months, proposes that several insect-rich habitats be granted protected status, including semiwild fruit orchards and stone walls in the countryside.
The plan also promises to phase out all use of glyphosate, the world’s most common weed killer, by December 2023. The broad-spectrum herbicide often ends up killing the native plants insects rely on. Use by government agencies—and the government-owned Deutsche Bahn railway company—will be phased out sooner. (Glyphosate has been a hot political issue in Germany, with the agriculture ministry opposing a ban and the environmental ministry pushing for one.) The plan would set tighter regulations on all pesticide use in nature reserves and other protected areas. Approval of new pesticides will have to take into account effects on biodiversity. Even drugs used in veterinary medicine will be reviewed for their effects on insects: Some antiparasite treatments in cattle can harm dung beetles, for example.
The government also says it will take several steps to decrease light pollution, which can disrupt nocturnal insects’ behavior, preventing them from finding food or mates. The plan encourages the use of insect-friendly lights of certain wavelengths, along with motion detectors that turn on outdoor lights only when they are needed. It also will support public education efforts in preschools, schools, and a nationwide “insect-friendly garden” campaign.
One-quarter of the money in the €100 million plan is slated for research and monitoring. It calls for development of a nationwide insect monitoring network—part of a larger biodiversity monitoring program—and increased research into possible causes for the observed declines and the most promising ways to reverse them. It also promises more support for taxonomy research and training—a hugely important step, Krogmann says. Taxonomists qualified to identify the thousands of insect species in Germany “are an endangered species,” he says, with training programs disappearing from universities. “Once your numbers get so low, you can’t reproduce yourselves.”
Wolfgang Wägele, former director of the Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany, says it’s “remarkable” for insects to get such positive attention. The funding actually goes beyond the €100 million mentioned in the insect protection plan, he says, because money for insect biodiversity protection is included in the research ministry’s €200 million program for research on biodiversity. “This really never happened before.”