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Ecological benefits of part-night lighting revealed

Science Daily

A study, led by experts from Newcastle and York universities, has shown that turning off the lights even for just part of the night is effective at restoring the natural behaviour of moths.

The important role moths play in the pollination of plants — potentially even including key food crops such as peas, soybean and oilseed rape — is often overlooked. But recent studies show that moths supplement the day-time work of bees and other pollinating insects.

Night-lighting disrupts nocturnal pollination by attracting moths upwards, away from the fields and hedgerows so they spend less time feeding and therefore pollinating. But in this latest study, published today in Ecosphere, the team found there was no difference in pollination success between part-night lighting and full darkness.

Dr Darren Evans, Reader in Ecology and Conservation at Newcastle University, who supervised the study, said that at a time when local authorities are switching off the street lamps to save money, this study highlighted the environmental benefits of part-night lighting.

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