Insect life suffering in Switzerland

While some species of butterfly have newly arrived in Switzerland, more insects species have disappeared. Keystone / Lisa Maire

The diversity of insects in Switzerland is shrinking due to agriculture, destruction of habitat and global warming, a study has warned.

This content was published on September 11, 2021 - 13:26

Earlier this week, the Biodiversity Forum of the Swiss Academy of Sciences put 1,153 insect species on its endangered or potentially endangered Red List. The report said 38 species are already extinct while another 107 are threatened with extinction.

There are around 30,000 known insect species that make their home in the Alpine state, but it is estimated that there may be up to double this number of individual species.

Insects that thrive on cooler temperatures, particularly those that live in wetland areas, are at most threat, the Biodiversity Forum warns.

But over the last 20 years, Switzerland has welcomed newcomer species that prefer warmer climates, such as butterflies. Despite this, the overall number of insect species is declining.

The Biodiversity Forum blamed this development on intensive land use, pesticides and fertilisers, urban sprawl, light pollution and global warming.

Insects serve the interests of people through pollination and returning nutrients to the soil by breaking down dead plant material. They are also a vital food source for birds, fish and other animals.

Better management of woodland areas has proven to have a positive effect on insect biodiversity. But the Biodiversity Forum also called on lawmakers to focus policy on preserving insect biodiversity.

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