A nationwide scheme in Germany to protect its declining insect population has proved a hit. Germany’s meadows have brought back the bees and other insects so vital to the ecosystem. These mini islands of wilderness number over a hundred and are spread all over Germany.
Baerwaldstrasse is one of Germany’s meadows that are covered with wild plants and flowers. Red poppies, white cow parsley, blue cornflowers can be spied amidst a sea of wild grass and nettles. Swarms of various insects buzz over these flowers.
Germany’s meadows have transformed the urban landscape and were planted with the sole aim of reversing the significant decline in the insect population. This has played havoc with the ecology of space as insects, especially bees are vital for pollination.
A Must For Insect Populations
The insect population has been decimated across the world, thanks to the destruction of their natural habitat, and the indiscriminate use of pesticides. It has been estimated that 25% of the insect population on land has been destroyed in the preceding 3 decades, and it has been going down at a rate of 9% every 10 years.
The figures are 50% if you calculate for the past 75 years. It is estimated that most insects would disappear within another 100 years. And that would spell catastrophe for human existence.
The Midwestern and western parts of the US and Europe have encountered devastating loss in insect population in the past 50 years. Germany alone has 580 types of wild bees, over half of which are in danger and could soon be extinct.
A study released by the German Entomological Society of Krefeld in 2017 has shown that there has been a 3 quarter decline in the total biomass of flying insects in the protected areas of Germany in the last three decades.
Climate change has been the greatest factor for the decline in the population of insects, most of which are delicate but are vital for the sustenance of the ecology. The use of pesticides, biofuel emissions, changes in land-use patterns, loss of habitat, and the lighting of the night sky are reasons that are destroying their population.
Scientists have termed the drastic loss in biodiversity as an ‘insect apocalypse’ and are warning of its effects on our lives as they constitute the very basis of life. Most insects perform vital jobs such as pollinating the flowers, aerating the natural soil, and nutrients recycling.
The decimation of the population of bees and various other pollinators could lead to a drastic fall in the production of crops and affect the food security of the planet. An overwhelming number of crops depend on natural pollination and would affect over 80% of the leading food crops around the world. 87 of the 115 leading crops around the world are heavily dependent on natural pollination and add up to 35% of the total world food production.
Germany’s Meadows Could Combine To Create An Urban Wilderness
Germany’s meadows are a desperate attempt to combat this catastrophic drop in the population of insects. The mini wilderness that has come upon Baerwaldstrasse in Kreuzberg, a suburb in Berlin is a sign of the success of such urban wilderness.
Germany’s meadows were planted in the last 3 years and have finally bloomed fully this summer, transforming the urban landscape. The city of Berlin has earmarked around $2.08 million for seeding and nurturing the wild gardens in and around the city which number over 50.
Germany’s meadows have also come up in Munich, where 30 such wilderness have come up. Leipzig, Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Braunschweig have begun similar initiatives.
The trend of Germany’s meadows began in Hamburg back in 2015 when the authorities unveiled a series of wildflower beds on top of bus shelters. The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union of Germany has been receiving requests for help from residents who want to have their own wildflowers beds, and want to transform their manicured lawns into green spaces for insects to thrive.
The blooms also have their aesthetic appeal, but experts say that the urban initiatives to save Germany’s meadows need to be replicated in the rural areas if there has to be any effect. A network of increasing numbers of such green hotspots could eventually lead to a green cover even in urban areas.