Science – Baiersbronn – More than 30 different species of dung beetle in the Black Forest

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Seeback (DPA/LSW) – According to a study, grazing animals such as sheep, horses and hake cattle in mountainous areas in the northern Black Forest promote insect biodiversity. The Black Forest National Park announced in Seebach (Ortenaukreis) on Tuesday that more than 30 different species of dung beetle have been detected in investigations. An average of 50 beetles populated the dung heap, said beetle expert Jorn Buss. “There were also over 800 animals in the individual dung heap.”

The beetles play an important role in the ecosystem, as a biodiversity expert on the national park team explained: “Without their hard work, the nutrient cycle wouldn’t stop.” The remains of beetle larvae are fertilizer for plants. In addition, beetles ventilate the soil while digging – and thus also bring the seeds of plants contained in the compost into the soil.

A cattle weighing about 600 kilograms provided more than eleven tons of dung on pasture during its life, it said, citing studies from England. About 120 kg of insect larvae used dung. “Roughly speaking, one could say that every mass-housed cattle foster a group of insects that corresponds to about one-fifth of the cattle’s own body mass,” Buss said. In view of climate change, animal husbandry in particular is being judged negatively because of CO2 balance. In the case of free-range animal husbandry, according to him, the picture is different: “Your contribution to pest conservation has so far been greatly underestimated.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211019-99-651446/2

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