Up to 75 percent of insects in Germany have disappeared - a silent death with serious consequences. Two thirds of the one hundred most important agricultural crops require pollination by insects. New habitats are needed.
Without insects there would be neither cucumbers nor strawberries, apples or pumpkins. Their pollination activities are worth several hundred billion Euros worldwide every year. That makes the growing extinction of insects all the more dramatic. The main causes: monocultures and over-fertilization and the use of pesticides in agriculture. But insects are also finding less and less food and habitats in cities and private gardens. One German housing agent is already trying to change that, putting 300 square meters of "green space" between its blocks of flats and transforming them into a flowering insect paradise. At first this doesn’t sound like much, but once you realize that Germany’s leisure gardens cover as much ground as its nature reserves, then the potential becomes clear. In agriculture, the reformers’ magic word is "ecological intensification." Marek Nowakowski from Britain is one of its pioneers. The agronomist has been training farmers in so-called "wildlife farming" for 15 years. His concept is to take the less productive edges of cultivated fields out of production and plant them with grasses, wild herbs and flowers instead. In France, the DEPHY network, an association of 3,000 conventional farms, is trying to minimize the use of pesticides. Among other methods, the farmers are planting a wider range of crops, rotating them and mechanically clearing weeds.