31 Jul '13, 1pm

Habitat loss and pesticides causing decline in Europe's butterflies

Habitat loss and pesticides causing decline in Europe's butterflies

Fiona Harvey, The Guardian July 31, 2013 print Europe's grassland butterfly population has plummeted in the past two decades, new research published on Tuesday shows, with a near halving in the numbers of key species since 1990. The precipitous decline has been blamed on poor agricultural practices and pesticides, by the European Environment Agency, which carried out the research. Falling numbers of butterflies are bad news not just for nature-lovers and for biodiversity, but have a knock-on effect on farming, as—like bees—they act as pollinators, and their disappearance harms birds and other creatures that need them for food. Butterfly populations are a leading indicator of the health of other insect species. The new study therefore suggests many other species of insect, which are also food sources for birds and small mammals, and which play a key role in the health of th...

Full article: http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0731-gen-butterflies-declin...

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