Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Insects Are Dying Off at a Scary Rate, Putting Humanity at Risk

Insects Are Dying Off at a Scary Rate, Putting Humanity at Risk

40 percent of insect species like bees and ants are now undergoing dramatic rates of decline, according to scientific journal journal, Biological Conservation.

Insects could completely disappear from the Earth within 100 years if they continue to decline at current rates, The Guardian notes: "More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found". "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic, to say the least". "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least, as insects are at the structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise at the end of the Devonian period, nearly 400 million years ago". To conduct the study, researchers from The University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences reviewed 73 reports chronicling the decline of insect populations all over the world, and analyzed the data.

Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies. We actually need them for all of our ecosystems to function properly - they represent food for other creatures, pollinators and they are also recyclers of nutrients.

"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades", the report said.

Conservation and biodiversity groups have called on the more careful use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers in agriculture to address the problem.

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But insects comprise about two-thirds of all terrestrial species, and have been the foundation of key ecosystems since emerging nearly 400 million years ago.

The authors are concerned about the impact of insect decline up along the food chain.

Insects are also being hit by biological factors, such as pathogens and introduced species, and by climate change, where rising temperatures could affect the range of places where they can live.

"There is not a single cause, but the evidence is clear, to halt this crisis we must urgently reverse habitat fragmentation, prevent and mitigate climate change, clean up polluted waters and replace pesticide dependency with more sustainable, ecologically-sensitive farming".

He added that while the overall message was alarming, there were things that people could do, such as making their gardens more insect friendly, not using pesticides and buying organic food.

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