Insects as group represent approx. ¾ of the biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems, and provide a number of crucial ecosystem services. Recent research papers reveal a global and steep decline of insect faunas, also in neighbouring countries, with a negative impact on terrestrial food webs. Agriculture is often suggested as explanatory factor for this phenomenon. In the Netherlands, the Deltaplan Biodiversiteitsherstel has been initiated as countermeasure, while in Germany the Germany Action Programme for Insect Protection was started recently. Surprisingly, the situation in Flanders is still unknown, and it seems only logical that INBO as Flemish biodiversity institute takes actions to fill up this void.
In a first phase information on this topic will be assembled through review and meta-analysis, gaps in the available data will be disclosed and research questions and needs identified. We also go on a quest for relevant non-published data sets. Further a methodology will be worked out for an optimal (= efficient and reliable) data collection (= sampling and identification) of insect biodiversity in different habitat types, including farmland. Indicators will be developed for monitoring purposes (see also biodiversity indicators in the Dutch Deltaplan Biodiversiteitsherstel), that are also useful for explanatory research projects. The above mentioned methodology will be applied in the Biodiversity Network in Agricultural Landscape (MBAG), which also encompass soil biodiversity and other biotic components (vegetation, farmland birds).