News "Report on the state of nature": Difficult times for...

“Report on the state of nature”: Difficult times for butterflies

Industrial agriculture threatens natural habitats – and therefore more and more animal species. According to a government report, nature is particularly badly affected in agricultural regions. Insects and birds are particularly affected.

In agricultural regions in Germany, endangered animals find it particularly difficult. This emerges from the “Report on the state of nature”, which Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) presented today.

Accordingly, there are major problems for butterflies and other insect species that rely on meadows and pastures rich in flowers. Birds also suffered heavy losses – the number of partridges and lapwings decreased to a tenth of the number 25 years ago. “About a third of the breeding bird species have declined in their population in the past 12 years, with species of the agricultural open land particularly affected,” the report says.

Overall, nature in Germany is not doing well enough. According to the report, there are also successes in other habitats: beech forests have recovered, there are more birds in forests and settlements, and the restoration of rivers and floodplains also contributes to the recreation of nature, explained Schulze.

Fertilizer, pesticides, tourism

Altogether, almost 70 percent of habitats are in an inadequate (32 percent) or poor condition (37 percent) from the point of view of species protection, especially the agricultural grassland areas, but also lakes and bogs. In 33 percent of all animal species, the traffic light is red, said Schulze – according to the report, this mainly affects butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. There is therefore no danger for only a quarter: the gray seal on the North Sea and the ibex in the Alps are doing well.

The authors cite fertilizers and pesticides, intensive use of the land, drainage, changes in water, but also in part sports, tourism and leisure activities as the main causes of the problems.

Every six years, the federal and state governments assess how good the state of conservation of nature is and in what direction it is developing – they have to be accountable to the EU for the implementation of nature conservation guidelines. For this, data from authorities are used, but also information that voluntary conservationists collect.

The tagesschau reported on this topic on May 19, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.


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