African study on biodiversity in GM maize finds insects abundant


Previous studies from China, Spain, and the United States on genetically modified (GM) rice, cotton, and maize have concluded that the biodiversity of insects and related arthropods in GM crop fields was essentially the same as that among conventional crops. Now a new study from South Africa shows similar results…

“The aims of the study were to compile a checklist of arthropods that occur on maize in South Africa and to compare the diversity and abundance of arthropods and functional groups on Bt maize and non-Bt maize,” the authors wrote. “Results from this short-term study indicated that abundance and diversity of arthropods in maize and the different functional guilds were not significantly affected by Bt maize, either in terms of diversity or abundance…”

“The results of our study indicate that arthropod diversity, even in high-input farming systems, is as high as in subsistence farming systems” said Dr. Johnnie van den Berg, a professor at North-West University and one of the co-authors of the article. “More recently, surveys of arthropod and plant beta-diversity inside and adjacent to maize fields have been completed during which 30,000 arthropods and 15,000 plant individuals were surveyed along a 1,000 kilometer transect. It seems that maize field diversity is homogenized and field margins had a high beta diversity,” he added.

Oh, the heartbreak for folks convinced this shouldn’t be so.

The sad bit is folks who try to cloak their Luddite predilection end up practicing something akin to creationist “science”. They first determine the result they seek – then, try to distort scientific study to suit that belief.

Needless to say, they rarely show up to challenge peer-reviewed work with competing studies. Anymore than the True Believers who latch onto these fears are likely to read the peer-reviewed studies in the first place.

2 thoughts on “African study on biodiversity in GM maize finds insects abundant

  1. Update says:

    Most scholarship on the closely-watched case of genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in India has focused on short-term impacts and has also ignored other major changes in India’s cotton agriculture.
    Long-term analysis shows GM cotton no match for insects in India : Changes in insecticides, fertilization drove productivity gains — not Bt cotton adoption (Washington University in St. Louis 3/13/20)
    “Now farmers in India are spending more on seeds, more on fertilizer and more on insecticides. Our conclusion is that Bt cotton’s primary impact on agriculture will be its role in making farming more capital-intensive — rather than any enduring agronomic benefits.” Glenn Davis Stone, professor of sociocultural anthropology and environmental studies
    See also “Long-term impacts of Bt cotton in India” by K. R. Kranthi & Glenn Davis Stone, Nature Plants volume 6, March 13, 2020

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