BERLIN, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in a report published on Tuesday criticized that German agriculture is making too slow progress in environmental protection and nature conservation.
The use of pesticides and the destruction of specific habitats has increased, as the German authority's data collection "Environment and Agriculture" shows. The biggest problems were the concentration on a few crop species, the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides on fields as well as drugs and medicine in animal husbandry.
"More ecology must not be a niche theme. We need more environmental protection, even in conventionally operating companies," UBA President Maria Krautzberger said.
Sales of fertilizers and pesticides in Germany between 1994 and 2015 have risen from just under 30,000 tonnes to over 40,000 tonnes. With 34 percent, Herbicides such as glyphosate account for the largest share. "Numerous studies have shown that insect mortality is linked to pesticides. Even in groundwater, residues of pesticides are regularly detected," a statement by UBA reads.
The report also finds that the proportion of so-called "high natural value" areas, such as species-rich grassland, fallow land or orchards, is falling. While the figure was 13.1 percent in 2009, it was only 11.4 percent in 2015.
Krautzberger therefore puts hope in the next round of EU agricultural reform on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP): "The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy must finally make it possible that farms that do the most for the environment receive the most money rather than those that cultivate the most land."
In this context, the German environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) has already presented the cornerstones of an "Insect Protection Action Program" and has received praise from environmentalists. It is to be passed by the federal cabinet in the near future.
The German government classifies the decline in insects in Germany as dramatic and sees an urgent need for action. A report by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation finds that almost half of the 8,000 species on the Red List are either endangered, extremely rare, lost or already extinct. According to the report, the causes are the loss of habitats, the use of plant toxins and pollutants in water and soil.