Insect Biodiversity Apocalypse

Biological Conservation Journal

Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers – 25 January 2019

Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide.Here,we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades. The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance:

  • habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation;
  • pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers;
  • biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and
  • climate change.

The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climates and mountain settings of temperate zones. 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. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments.

Please click here to see the full report.

The Guardian

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ – 10 February 2019

“The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.”

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CNN

Massive Insect Decline could have Catastrophic Environmental impact Study Says – 11 February 2019

“Insect populations are declining precipitously worldwide due to pesticide use and other factors, with a potentially “catastrophic” effect on the planet, a study has warned. More than 40% of insect species could become extinct in the next few decades, according to the “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers” report, published in the journal Biological Conservation.”

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Vox

We have a new global tally of the insect apocalypse. It’s alarming – 11 February 2019

“When insects go extinct, other species follow. Insects are the most abundant animals on planet Earth. If you were to put them all together into one creepy-crawly mass, they’d outweigh all humanity by a factor of 17. Insects outweigh all the fish in the oceans and all the livestock munching grass on land. Their abundance, variety (there could be as many as 30 million species), and ubiquity mean insects play a foundational role in food webs and ecosystems: from the bees that pollinate the flowers of food crops like almonds to the termites that recycle dead trees in forests.”

Please click here to see the full article.