Germany’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze has called for new legislation to save bugs from extinction.

The newspaper Bild am Sonntag cited the Social Democrat (SPD) minister as saying that better legal protection for insects would also protect humanity’s future.

“We humans need insects,” Schulze said. “They deserve protection from their own law. This not only to protect stag beetles and earth bumblebees, but above all ourselves.”

As reported by Deutsche Welle is Germany’s international broadcaster, concerns over insect extinction have prompted demands for better safeguards. New research suggests 40% of insect species could be wiped out over the next few decades.

Schulze called for agriculture ministry funds to be diverted to tackle the issue: “Agriculture receives billions in state resources. I want to use these for solutions that ensure the survival of insects and farmers.”

According to DW, the planned Insect Protection Act will likely contain binding requirements for changes to rules governing nature conservation, water resources, and plant protection, while further restricting the use of fertilizers, the German dpa news agency reported.

Meanwhile, a petition for a referendum on preserving the diversity of species — better known as the “save the bees” petition — has gathered the legally required 10% of all eligible voters in the southern German state of Bavaria, two days before the end of the official registration period. The petition is aiming to make amendments to the Bavarian Nature Conservation Act.