By John Smith • 25 June 2021 • 13:45
Sight of a beautiful butterfly may be come rarer
FIRST it was bees who were in danger and now the world population of moths and butterflies appears to be on the decline.
Studies from across Europe have come to the conclusion that although it was believed that habitat loss and climate change were the two main reasons for the decline of butterflies and moths, it is now thought that nitrogen may be the prime suspect.
Nitrogen is used or produced in so many different areas such as burning of fuel, fertiliser, transportation and even animals.
According to one theory, nitrogen has steadily built up in the atmosphere and is then spread by wind and rain and whilst to some extent enriching soil, it also creates acidic conditions which changes the ability of certain plants to grow and when they disappear, so do the moths and butterflies.
It becomes even worse for caterpillars who need certain conditions to let them feed and then transform through the chrysalis stage and when land that was relatively empty of vegetation but warm is transformed into an area of long grass for example, then they simply cannot survive.
This is good news for those who are determined to stamp out the processionary pine caterpillar but not so good for those who enjoy seeing butterflies in particular on a balmy sunny day.
Research in Belgium, England, Holland, Scotland and the USA all seems to confirm that nitrogen deposits in soil are detrimental to these insects and whilst individual areas where rare moths and butterflies are known to exist may be protected, the overall problem is one of simple air pollution combined with climate change.
Scientists suggest that unless new controls concerning pollution are introduced quickly, there is no doubt that the decimation of the insect world will continue and get worse.
One Scottish based organisation, Butterfly Conservation is campaigning for the introduction of new Environmental Laws.
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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