Rapidly declining insect populations spell 'catastrophic' trouble, scientists warn

Rapidly declining insect populations spell 'catastrophic' trouble, scientists warn

Rapidly declining insect populations spell 'catastrophic' trouble, scientists warn

Lead author Dr Francisco Sánchez-Bayo said One-third of insect species are classed as endangered.

A leading Norfolk farming conservationist said farmers were already at the forefront of finding ways to reverse the decline of insects and wildlife - but all parts of society needed to work together to find solutions rather than "naming and shaming" individual sectors. The Huffington Post noted that many insects, including native bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and aquatic insects are bugs that might die within the next century. Insects are necessary to all ecosystems, pollinating plants and serving as food for other animals.

Experts estimate that flying insects across Europe have declined 80 per cent on average, causing bird populations to drop by more than 400 million in three decades. The researchers also note this is the first study of its kind to provide a global picture of insect decline. The scientists reviewed 73 studies from around the world published over the last 13 years to reach their conclusions. With many species of birds, reptiles and fish depending on insects as their main food source, it's likely that these species may also be wiped out as a result.

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In their report published in Biological Conservation, scientists point the destructive role of intensive agriculture and pollution, mainly caused by the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

"Climate change is one of the big reasons we have got to obviously start and tackle climate change properly, to tackle it and also reduce it". While climate change is making the tropics much hotter and pushing insects to extinction, warming in more temperate zones are making theses areas more hospitable for certain insect species, including flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and agricultural pests.

Ultimately, if huge numbers of insects disappear, they will be replaced but it will take a long, long time. Drastically reduce pesticide use and redesign agricultural systems to make them more insect-friendly.

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A decline in insect populations happening across the planet has Earth's ecosystems and humankind facing catastrophic consequences.

"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.

"If you look at what happened in the major extinctions of the past, they spawned massive adaptive radiations where the few species that made it through adapted and occupied all the available niches and evolved into new species", Prof Goulson told BBC News.

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