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Decline in insects can cause a catastrophic collapse of nature: research



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Human activity is causing a dramatic decline in insects, which can see that 40 percent of the species have been extinct within a few decades, scientific research warns.

A global review of insect declines warned that the world was witnessing "the largest extinction event on the planet" for millions of years, given the loss of habitats, pesticides, invasive diseases and species and climate change.

Because of the importance of insects to natural systems and other animals, "such events can not be ignored and decisive action should not be taken to prevent a catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems," the scientists warned.

The review, published in the journal "Biological Conservation", examined 73 historical reports on insects from around the world, including studies in the UK, and found insects, ranging from butterflies and bees to manure beetles were the most affected.

The declines not only hit species experts, for example those who rely on a particular plant host or just live in certain habitats, but also much more "species" rules.

The researchers warned that the worsening of agriculture over the past six decades was "the root of the problem" and that the incessant use of pesticides was very influential.

The biggest driver of insect degradation is the loss of habitats and the transformation of land into intensive agriculture and urban areas, followed by pollution, mainly chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Insects are also affected by biological factors, such as pathogens and species, and climate change, where rising temperatures can affect the range of places they can live.

Insects are key to the functioning of natural systems, from food sources to other animals, such as birds, mammals and amphibians, to pollinating plants and to recycling nutrients.

"The conclusion is clear: if we do not change our way of producing food, insects as a whole will continue the path of extinction in a few decades," said Francesco Sanchez, S-Bio and Cris Wickhuis.

"The implications for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic, since insects have been at the structural and functional base of many of the world's ecosystems since their rise at the end of the Danish period almost 400 million years ago."

They called for habitat restoration, a dramatic decline in pesticides and changes in agriculture to help insects, such as flower-rich bands planted on the edge of the fields, or crops with clover for bumblebees.

Matt Chardlow, executive director of the Wildlife Charity Foundation, said: "It is very volatile to see this gathering of evidence, which illustrates the bleak conditions of insect populations around the world.

"It's not just about bees, or even about pollen feeding ourselves, the falls also include garbage beetles that recycle waste and insects like dragonflies that start life in rivers and ponds.

"It becomes increasingly clear that the ecology of our planet is breaking down and that intensive and global efforts are needed to stop and reverse these terrible trends – and allow the slow elimination of insect life to continue, is not a rational option."

According to him, insects make up more than half of the species on the planet, but the study showed they disappear much faster than birds and mammals.

"There is no single reason, but the evidence is clear. To stop this crisis, we must urgently push the fragmentation of habitats, prevent and prevent climate change, clean polluted water and replace pesticides with more sustainable, ecological agriculture," he said. Urged.

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