Massive Drop In Insect Populations Could Spell Disaster For Humans As Well

14 February, 2019, 12:17 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Macleay's Swallowtail one of the butterflies found around Canberra

And as Business Insidernoted, the report estimates that the insects are declining eight times as fast as mammals, birds, and reptiles. The wide use of pesticides and fertilizer as well as industrial pollution are also taking massive tolls.

Last year, one study found that flying insect populations in German nature reserves declined by more than 75% over the duration of a 27-year study, meaning that the die-off is happening even beyond areas affected by human activity.

Pesticides used in an intensive agriculture industry, urban sprawl, and climate change are all factors in insects' decline.

"A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide", the report said.

"Because insects constitute the world's most abundant animal group and provide critical services within ecosystems, such an event can not be ignored and should prompt decisive action to avert a catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems", the report said.

The analysis, the primary global assessment of its type, checked out 73 historic reviews on insect declines around the globe and located that the whole mass of all bugs on the planets is lowering by 2.5% per year.

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"The essential role that insects play as food items of many vertebrates is often forgotten", the researchers said. He added that many species of animals that rely on insects as their main food source could be wiped out, which would only increase pest numbers. Lead author Dr Francisco Sánchez-Bayo said One-third of insect species are classed as endangered. There are 17 times more insects around the world than humans, according to another study.

'Second is the increasing use of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture worldwide and contamination with chemical pollutants of all kinds.

Insects make up half of all life forms on earth and form the bedrock of food chains and the planet's life-systems.

"It is becoming increasingly obvious our planet's ecology is breaking and there is a need for an intense and global effort to halt and reverse these terrible trends". The number of bees has also been seriously affected.

Britain has seen a measurable decline across 60 per cent of its large insect groups, or taxa, followed by North America (51 per cent) and Europe as a whole (44 per cent).

There is also ample evidence of declines in temperate regions driven by a combination of climate change and habitat fragmentation.

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