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Pollinators and Other Flying Insects inside and outside the Fukushima Evacuation Zone via PLOS one


Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in 2011, a large evacuation zone was imposed in an area where residents had historically managed forests and farmlands. Thus, the human activities that had maintained biodiversity and ecosystem services in the zone were discontinued. Such change can affect insects, a biodiversity component that is relatively tolerant to radiation exposure. In this study, we investigated flying insects, including pollinators, important ecosystem providers inside and outside the zone, using Malaise traps. The results showed that the number of individuals of Xylocopa appendiculata, the largest Apidae species in the region, was significantly lower inside the evacuation zone than outside it, whereas those of other insects were not lower significantly. Although we suggest that flying insects and their ecosystem services (i.e., benefits from them such as pollination) 3 years after the disaster were not critically impacted, it is important to monitor the long-term effects of the evacuation in the future.

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