Infographic shows which bugs will likely die off first in 'insect apocalypse'

Leroy Wright
February 13, 2019

The analysis, the primary worldwide assessment of its type, checked out 73 historic reviews on insect declines around the globe and located that the whole mass of all bugs on the planets is lowering by 2.5% per year. Of the insects that remain, 41pc are in decline.

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

Some 80% of wild plants use insects for pollination while 60% of birds rely on insects as a food source, according to the study.

Pesticides used in an intensive agriculture industry, urban sprawl, and climate change are all factors in insects' decline.

A leading Norfolk farming conservationist said farmers were already at the forefront of finding ways to reverse the decline of insects and wildlife - but all parts of society needed to work together to find solutions rather than "naming and shaming" individual sectors. Pollution, particularly the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers, is also a major contributor to the dwindling number of insects around the world.

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"It is becoming increasingly obvious our planet's ecology is breaking and there is a need for an intense and global effort to halt and reverse these awful trends" Matt Shardlow of the United Kingdom advocacy group Buglife tells Matt McGrath at the BBC. Also, climate change plays an important role.

"Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.

"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". For one thing, humans need to rethink "current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices".

That would have "catastrophic" effects on the environment as a whole, researchers told The Guardian, with many ecosystems reliant on insects. They found that there are 41% of insects that are in decline, while 31% of insect species have encountered threatening declination, according to the numbers set by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of, its sponsors or advertisers.

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