Wed, Feb 13, 2019 - Page 6 News List

World seeing ‘catastrophic collapse’ of insects: study

AFP, PARIS

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.

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

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 said.

Restoring wilderness areas and a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides 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.

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

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.

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

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