The researchers analyzed reports of reduction in the number of insects in different regions and came to a disappointing conclusion.
In the journal Biological Conservation published an article on the analysis of the 73 reports showing the decline in the number of insects. The authors suggest that this decline could trigger a future mass extinction event comparable to the Permian.
It is worth to mention that the reports that were studied by the researchers does not cover all regions of the world — mainly Europe and North America. This means that there is still a vast area that these data do not cover. Despite gaps in some types of insects, as the authors argue, there is no reason to believe that a significant portion of them oppose the General trend.
Most of all, according to them, the endangered groups of the Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. The first, for example, include wasps and ants, to the second butterfly. Four aquatic taxa have lost the greater part of the species.
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As the main threats, scientists distinguish intensive agriculture with use of pesticides and urbanization. Because of them, the insects lose their habitats. The work says that if humanity does not change the methods of production of plant foods, insects whose life depends on the environment, will eventually die out in the next few decades. Additional risk factors the authors attributed to climate change, pollution and invasive species.
Mentioning about climate change, the researchers say about the selectivity of this fact. Warming in temperate regions may lead to an increase in the number of some species and their wider distribution, but the species that live in a tropical climate, it will have a negative effect. “Global warming has increased the population of some butterflies in Northern Europe have expanded their geographical distribution, but in contrast, half of the number of insects in the world is decreasing,” — said in the article.
Because insects are an important part of the food chain, their disappearance can affect animals. First of all, reduced populations of birds, reptiles and amphibians. Perhaps, later will start the process of extinction of other animals occurring in a Domino effect.
As reported by “Around the world. Ukraine” over the last 40 years humanity has destroyed 60% of wild animals.