Almost half of world's insect species facing extinction, global study finds

Insects could become extinct in 100 years scientists have warned. /COURTESY

Previous studies have looked at smaller areas, with a 2017 study showing 76 percent of flying insects had disappeared from German nature preserves and a study last fall that showed insect populations in pristine rainforest in Puerto Rico have also seen precipitous declines, dropping a factor of 60. "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".

The warning was issued in a global review of insect declines, in which the authors called for a dramatic rethinking of agricultural practices and better strategies for cleaning polluted waters.

According to 9 News, a new review has found a 40 per cent decline in insect species around the world.

"Because insects constitute the world's most abundant animal group and provide critical services within ecosystems, such an event can not be ignored and should prompt decisive action to avert a catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems", the report said.

"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, one of the study's co-authors, told The Guardian.

The repercussions of insect extinction would be "catastrophic to say the least", according to the report, as insects have been at "the structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise ... nearly 400 million years ago".

According to the study's authors, insects have served as the "structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise. nearly 400 million years ago".

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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. The Huffington Post noted that many insects, including native bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and aquatic insects are bugs that might die within the next century.

What we need to do is to change the way we make food, or we can say our goodbyes to the insects.

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

'It is very rapid.

They maintain soil structure and fertility, pollinate plants and control insect and plant pests. Pollution, particularly the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers, is also a major contributor to the dwindling number of insects around the world.

"The essential role that insects play as food items of many vertebrates is often forgotten", the researchers said. The researchers also note this is the first study of its kind to provide a global picture of insect decline.

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