Kata Rocks
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


World seeing ’catastrophic collapse’ of insects

World seeing ’catastrophic collapse’ of insects

Nearly half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains.

environmentpollutionnatural-resourcesagriculture
By AFP

Tuesday 12 February 2019, 09:41AM


“Unless we change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” concluded the peer-reviewed study, which is set for publication in April.

The recent decline in bugs that fly, crawl, burrow and skitter across still water is part of a gathering “mass extinction,” only the sixth in the last half-billion years.

“We are witnessing the largest extinction event on Earth since the late Permian and Cretaceous periods,” the authors noted.

The Permian end-game 252 million years ago snuffed out more than 90 percent of the planet’s life forms, while the abrupt finale of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago saw the demise of land dinosaurs.

“We estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline – 41 percent – to be twice as high as that of vertebrates,” or animals with a backbone, Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney and Kris Wyckhuys of the University of Queensland in Australia reported.

“At present, a third of all insect species are threatened with extinction.”

An additional one percent join their ranks every year, they estimated. Insect biomass – sheer collective weight – is declining annually by about 2.5 percent worldwide.

“Only decisive action can avert a catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems,” the authors cautioned.

Restoring wilderness areas and a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides and chemical fertiliser are likely the best way to slow the insect loss, they said.

The study, to be published in the journal Biological Conservation, pulled together data from more than 70 datasets from across the globe, some dating back more than a century.

By a large margin, habitat change – deforestation, urbanisation, conversion to farmland – emerged as the biggest cause of insect decline and extinction threat.

Next was pollution and the widespread use of pesticides in commercial agriculture.

The recent collapse, for example, of many bird species in France was traced to the use of insecticides on industrial crops such as wheat, barley, corn and wine grapes.

“There are hardly any insects left – that’s the number one problem,” said Vincent Bretagnolle, an ecologist at Centre for Biological Studies.

Mitsu Tiansin Motors

Experts estimate that flying insects across Europe have declined 80 percent on average, causing bird populations to drop by more than 400 million in three decades.

Only a few species of insects – mainly in the tropics – are thought to have suffered due to climate change, while some in northern climes have expanded their range as temperatures warm.

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

Up to now, rising concern about biodiversity loss has mostly focused on big mammals, birds and amphibians.

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

“The essential role that insects play as food items of many vertebrates is often forgotten,” the researchers said.

Moles, hedgehogs, anteaters, lizards, amphibians, most bats, many birds and fish all feed on insects or depend on them for rearing their offspring.

Other insects filling the void left by declining species probably cannot compensate for the sharp drop in biomass, the study said.

Insects are also the world’s top pollinators – 75 percent of 115 top global food crops depend on animal pollination, including cocoa, coffee, almonds and cherries.

One-in-six species of bees have gone regionally extinct somewhere in the world.

Dung beetles in the Mediterranean basin have also been hit particularly hard, with more than 60 percent of species fading in numbers.

The pace of insect decline appears to be the same in tropical and temperate climates, though there is far more data from North America and Europe than the rest of the world.

Britain has seen a measurable decline across 60 percent of its large insect groups, or taxa, followed by North America (51 percent) and Europe as a whole (44 percent).

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket beach cleanup nets 40kg of trash

Can we do this at Surin Beach? ...(Read More)


‘No politics’ in decree stretch

If you believe what Prawit says, I have bridge for sale in London...(Read More)


Phuket beach cleanup nets 40kg of trash

Tell it to the ignorant fishermen....(Read More)


Europe lifts virus shutters as Japan ends emergency

'The Spanish government also announced that it would scrap quarantine for foreign arrivals from ...(Read More)


MP Sira moves for action after DSI probe finds Kata condo project land title, building permission unlawful

Also, I cannot confirm that construction is continuing as Nasa states, but would not be the least bi...(Read More)


MP Sira moves for action after DSI probe finds Kata condo project land title, building permission unlawful

MP Sira is one of the few heros in Thai government. It takes guts to fight this battle, and it has a...(Read More)


‘No politics’ in decree stretch

No politics.... LOL... they are afraid of a second having reported around 3K till now...I thought th...(Read More)


Phuket Property Guide: COVID impact and bargain hunters

I have just sold an apartment in Phuket, two week after I listed it, for substantially more than I p...(Read More)


Sustainably Yours: Reimagining Phuket

Thailand escaped colonialism because of the agreements between Britain and France as a buffer betw...(Read More)


MP Sira moves for action after DSI probe finds Kata condo project land title, building permission unlawful

Well well but they still building, every day is many many cement trucks deliver cement to this site....(Read More)