Further insect number declines in 2022 – a long-term trend or the result of record summer temperatures? - Kent Wildlife Trust

Image credit - Richard Steel/2020VISION
Image credit - Richard Steel/2020VISION

The Bugs Matter Citizen Science Survey, led by conservation charities Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife, found a 64% decline in insect numbers sampled on vehicle number plates between 2004 and 2022 across the UK, highlighting the urgent need for more, large-scale research on insects, and action to reverse declines in their abundance.

As world leaders meet to discuss global declines in biodiversity at the COP15 UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the 2022 Bugs Matter Survey results reveal further shocking declines in the numbers of flying insects in the UK, supporting the call that urgent action is needed to restore insect populations. Increasingly, abundance, not just diversity, is being recognised as a key driver in creating landscapes that are resilient to the impacts of the climate and nature crises.

The Bugs Matter Citizen Science Survey uses an innovative method for the large-scale surveying of flying insect abundance across the UK. The survey runs every summer and involves citizen scientists recording the number of insect splats on their vehicle number plates following a journey.

The latest 2022 Bugs Matter report has found that the number of insects sampled by citizen scientists across the UK reduced by a worrying 64% between 2004 and 2022. This is a 5% greater decline than that observed between 2004 and 2021, it is not clear what proportion of this decline is due to the long-term trend or the result of record summer temperatures, but climate change links these two factors. England, Northern Ireland and Wales saw continued declines into 2022, but figures for Scotland showed an upward trend.

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Posted On: 15/12/2022

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