Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Worldwide 'Catastrophic Collapse' of Insects According to a Study

Macleay's Swallowtail one of the butterflies found around Canberra SUZI BOND FAIRFAX MEDIAMacleay's Swallowtail one of the butterflies found around Canberra
Jeannette Daniel | 13 February, 2019, 16:33

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of wildlife charity Buglife, added: "It is gravely sobering to see this collation of evidence that demonstrates the pitiful state of the world's insect populations".

Insects are considered vital to many of nature's ecosystems for the productive role they play, particularly in controlling populations of other organisms.

The warning was issued in a global review of insect declines, in which the authors called for a dramatic rethinking of agricultural practices and better strategies for cleaning polluted waters.

The repercussions of insect extinction would be "catastrophic to say the least", according to the report, as insects have been at "the structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise ... nearly 400 million years ago".

The repercussions of insect extinction would be "catastrophic to say the least", according to the report, as insects have been at "the structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise ... nearly 400 million years ago". Insects Are Disappearing The biggest driver of the decline, according to the review, is habitat loss due to urbanization and agriculture.

"From our compilation of published scientific reports, we estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline (41 per cent) to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction (10 per cent) eight times higher, confirming previous findings", they wrote.

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Sánchez-Bayo and his co-authors centered their evaluation on bugs in European and North American nations.

The study found that declines in nearly all regions may end in the extinction of as many as 40 per cent of insects.

"Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades", concluded the peer-reviewed study, which is set for publication in April. As for pollinators, we have already documented the decline in butterflies and bees, so essential to our agricultural needs.

The researchers said the intensification of agriculture over the past six decades was "the root cause of the problem" and that the widespread use of pesticides was having a major impact. The heavy use of pesticides, climate change and invasive species were also pinpointed as significant causes. Of the insects that remain, 41pc are in decline.

If you took fourth grade science you know why insects are important, but just as a refresher: Insects are one of the very first links in the food chain, providing sustenance for countless species of birds, rodents, reptiles, fish, and other animal groups.

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