In France and Europe, the collapse of insect populations is one of the most disturbing manifestations of the biodiversity crisis. Studies accumulate in indifference and emphasize the magnitude and unexpected speed of the phenomenon, and the urgency to respond. Led in Germany, the most frequently quoted work on the subject suggest a fall in the biomass of flying insects of around 80 % since the early 1990s. And the last data published these days in the United Kingdom show that the phenomenon does not slow down, quite the contrary.
The hiatus is considerable between the severity of the situation and the little attention it arouses. Base of the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, the Entomofauna nevertheless offers agriculture irreplaceable services: recycling of nutrients in soils, control of pest proliferation, pollination of crops, etc.
it is not possible to say that the political response to this phenomenon is not up to the continent. A large scientific consensus, however, agrees to make the deep transformation of our agricultural and food systems The main lever for action to halt the collapse of insects and all the forms of life that depend on it.
The European Commission took note by making its farm strategy with a range (F2F, for Farm to Fork) one of the pillars of its green pact. Presented by its detractors as a dangerous project, it is actually a minimum response to the radicality of the current collapse of biodiversity. Its major objectives are the reduction in the uses of phytosanitary products, synthetic fertilizers, and a high conversion rate of farms to organic farming.
For several months, and particularly since the start of the war in Ukraine, European strategy has been attacked by several member states. The project of directive on the sustainable use of pesticides, one of its translations, is at the center of lively tensions, watered down, constantly called into question, its delayed adoption. The speed at which the quantity of insect populations collapses in Europe should on the contrary encourage to press the step.
The severity of the situation seems to escape most of the political leaders in place in Europe and elsewhere. France is no exception. This is evidenced by the recent debate around the authorization of neonicotinoids: it is not a political will which led to their final exclusion from the fields, but a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Persisters and mobiles in the environment, these products are the most powerful insecticides ever synthesized, and a beam of convergent elements made of their massive and prophylactic use, for three decades, one of the major factors of the collapse of populations of insects.
The absence of political will also reads in the French declination of the next joint agricultural policy, incapable in the state of starting the agroecological transition. In its May 2022 report, the Court of Auditors, not very suspicious of environmentalists, thus judged the policy of support for “insufficient” organic farming, recalling that its development is “the best way to succeed in the agroenvironmental transition”. The speed at which the entomofauna declines shows, if necessary, all the urgency to accomplish this transition.