Humanity is heading towards a huge calamity as insect numbers across the world fall sharply and could extinct entirety by the next century, according to a new study.
‘Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers’ has been written by Francisco Sanchez-Bayo at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing. It is also published in the journal, Biological Conservation.
The researchers who happened to have reviewed 73 long-term surveys of insects published in the past 40 years, came out with the fact that over 40 percent of insect species could go extinct in the next few decades, with butterflies, bees and dung beetles getting affected the most.
Insects’ rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles, says the study. It is 2.5 percent a year, according to the data.
The main reason for this decline, as they say, is habitat loss, pesticides, and fertilizers used on farms, as well as emissions from factories and cities, parasites and diseases, and climate change.
“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” write the researchers. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic, to say the least.”
The reason being insects are the most varied and abundant animals on earth. There are 17 times as many insects as humans. They are essential too for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, as food for other creatures, pollinators, and recyclers of nutrients.
Some scientists have raised doubts over the study, though. Ecologist Georgina Mace of University College London, told the New Scientist while the study had been shown as a global study, all the 73 studies were done in Europe and the US. There was just one study each from Brazil and South Africa for the continents of South America and Africa.
“So for huge parts of the planet, we simply do not know how insects are faring,” she said.
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