Massive Insect Decline May Have "Catastrophic" Impact on Environment

Scientists Predict'Catastrophic Consequences for Mankind as Insects Die OutCC0

Scientists Predict'Catastrophic Consequences for Mankind as Insects Die OutCC0

The total mass of insects - which now outweighs humanity by 17 times over - is falling by 2.5 percent a year, which suggests they could vanish altogether within the next century.

The majority of creatures that live on land are insects and they perform a number of roles which benefit other species, including humans.

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.

More than 40% of insect species could become extinct in the next few decades, according to the newly published study titled, "Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers", CNN reported.

The world is teetering on the edge of a man-made apocalypse, as insects could die out within a century - leading to a 'catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems.

According to the study, the total mass of insects is falling by 2.5 percent each year.

According to the study's authors, insects have served as the "structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise. nearly 400 million years ago".

While researches have also noted Urbanisation and climate change are significant factors.

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

"The conclusion is clear: unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades", they concluded.

Insects are key to functioning natural systems, from providing a food source for other wildlife such as birds, mammals and amphibians, to pollinating plants and recycling nutrients.

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.

"It is very rapid", Sánchez-Bayo told The Guardian. The heavy use of pesticides, climate change and invasive species were also pinpointed as significant causes.

Jake Fiennes, conservation general manager at the Holkham Estate and a member of the National Farmers' Union's environment forum, said: "We can all accept that there has been a decline in insects, whether we gain our information as a result of scientific data or anecdotes", he said.

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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