Insects are dying off at record rates — an ominous sign we’re in the middle of a 6th mass extinction
Roughly 40% of the world’s insect species are in decline, a new study shows.
The die-offs are happening primarily because insects are losing their habitats due to farming and urbanization. The use of pesticides and fertilizers is also to blame, as is climate change.
The study’s authors warn that the repercussions of this loss of Earth’s insects could catastrophic.
The rapid shrinking of insect populations is also a sign that the planet is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.
Somehow, it’s easier to be concerned about wolves, sea turtles, and White rhinos dying off than it is to feel remorse over vanishing bugs.
But the loss of insects is a dire threat — one that could trigger a “catastrophic collapse of Earth’s ecosystems,” a new study warns.
The research, the first global review of its kind, looked at 73 historical reports on insect declines around the world and found that the total mass of all insects on the planets is decreasing by 2.5% per year.
If this trend continues unabated, the Earth might not have any insects at all come 2119.
“In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none,” Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, a study co-author and researcher at the University of Sydney, told the Guardian
That’s a big problem, since insects are food sources for countless bird, fish, and mammal species. Pollinators like bees and butterflies also perform a crucial role in fruit, vegetable, and nut production.
Insects are going extinct 8 times faster than mammals, birds, and reptiles
Sánchez-Bayo and his co-authors focused their analysis on insects in European and North American countries. They estimated that 41% of insect species are in decline, 31% are threatened (according to criteria set by …read more
Source:: Business Insider