HiPP study reports on insect populations

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HiPP study reports on insect populations

The swiss-german producer of baby food is financing a project to compare conventionally and organically farmed areas.

© HiPP / Thomas Greifenstein
As a leading producer of baby food, HiPP processes large quantities of agricultural raw materials. A functioning ecosystem is thus elementary for the family business in order to be able to manufacture top quality products. The company is therefore all the more concerned to observe that the diversity of species  has been declining noticeably in large parts of Europe during recent decades. The intensification of agriculture is seen as a major driver for the loss of species. HiPP would like to investigate this correlation more closely and has therefore launched a project in 2018 with the aim of comparing the insect populations on organically and conventionally farmed land.

The researchers involved made sure that the areas studied had a similar structure and environment and that they were studied simultaneously. Various studies have already shown that organic and conventional farming influence biodiversity differently. In these studies, individual species or groups of species were considered. In addition, diversity, abundance, species composition and biomass were studied separately. The HiPP project combines these parameters and examines how conventional and organic farming influence the diversity of winged insects.

Within the framework of the project described above, HiPP collected moths, winged and other insect groups using light and malaise traps from April to October 2018. Experts from the Munich State Zoological Collection and the Technical University of Munich examined the catch results using state-of-the-art methods with regard to biomass, diversity and species composition. The results of the pilot study have now been published in the journal Ecology & Evolution.

Even experienced insect and butterfly researchers were surprised by the clarity of the results: With regard to the collected quantity, species diversity, frequency of highly endangered and endangered species, the ecologically managed area clearly leads the field. A continuation and expansion of the project in the next few years will show whether the surveys from 2018 are confirmed. In any case, this survey supports the obvious assumption that organic farming helps to halt species loss in agricultural areas.

Link to the publication Towards a standardized quantitative and qualitative insect monitoring scheme

Source: german press release on eco-world.de