Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Scientists Warn That Some Insects Could Be Extinct Within 100 Years

Macleay's Swallowtail one of the butterflies found around Canberra SUZI BOND FAIRFAX MEDIAMacleay's Swallowtail one of the butterflies found around Canberra
Sandra Phillips | 14 February, 2019, 12:15

Their findings, which were published this week in the Biological Conservation journal, revealed that this "bug apocalypse" might lead to the extinction of 40 percent of insect species over the next few decades.

"Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " the University of Sussex's Professor Dave Goulson, who was not involved in the review, told BBC News.

"It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want".

"If insect species losses can not be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind", Sánchez-Bayo added.

The decline is blamed mainly on intensive agriculture.

It goes without saying that insects are essential for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, with respect to their roles as pollinators, recyclers of nutrients, as well as being the main source of food for other species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

An overhaul of the agricultural industry is "urgently needed" to "allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide", wrote co-authors from Sydney and Queensland universities.

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Some insect populations could be extinct within a century, according to research published by a group of worldwide scientists.

While we have focused on the decline of vertebrates, this study shows the interconnection of insects with all ecosystems and the food chain.

"It's not just about bees, or even about pollination and feeding ourselves - the declines also include dung beetles that recycle waste and insects like dragonflies that start life in rivers and ponds", said Matt Shardlow from United Kingdom campaigners Buglife.

The scientists suggest that liberal use of pesticides as well as rising global temperatures and extreme weather events due to climate change are the likely culprits. The intensification of farming and use of pesticides threatens the very creatures that pollinate the crops we eat. Even with this shocking rate of insect losses, they are, by far, the most abundant and varied of animals - outweighing the Earth's human population by 17 times over.

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).

More than a third of the world's insects are threatened with extinction in the next few decades. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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