Widespread insect die-off could devastate ecosystems worldwide

Scientists Predict'Catastrophic Consequences for Mankind as Insects Die OutCC0

Scientists Predict'Catastrophic Consequences for Mankind as Insects Die OutCC0

According to what's been reported as the first global scientific review, the world's insects are depleting in numbers so fast that they could vanish within a century.

Insects make up half of all life forms on earth and form the bedrock of food chains and the planet's life-systems. The research team also found the rate of loss for insects was about 2.5 percent a year, globally.

Researchers say the world must change the way it produces food, noting that organic crops had more insects, and refrain from overusing pesticides.

"There are hardly any insects left - that's the number one problem", said Vincent Bretagnolle, an ecologist at Centre for Biological Studies.

A new study warns that insect populations around the world are falling dramatically. "If we don't have insects as moderators of other pest populations, we have insect populations that flare up and ruin crops and make them hard to grow". That's the bottom layer and unless we address it all our lives could be impacted immeasurably.

In the long run, however, scientists fear that global warming could become another major driver of insect demise.

The report, published by Elsevier's journal Biological Conservation and circulated by ScienceDirect.com, asserts that the "biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide". From blood-filled mosquitos sustaining birds to dung beetles recycling waste into plant nutrients, the humble six-legged creatures' survival adaptions have allowed them to evolve and flourish until now.

Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies. Of the insects that remain, 41pc are in decline.

The report's authors called for radical and immediate action. Further Reading:Climate change cited in dwindling of Puerto Rico insects Besides being a food source for birds and many bats and small animals, insects pollinate over 75 percent of our food crops, help in replenishing the soil and keep other insects in check.

"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".

They suggested overhauling existing agricultural methods, "in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices".

The in-depth research found that one third of insect species are already classed as endangered, with 40 percent in nearly all regions around the world expected to face extinction over the next few decades.