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Worried about our buzzing friends? Buy and urge organic

Date: 19-Feb-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Allowing insect populations to fall too far into decline could have severe consequences for many ecosystems. Image: Sue Thomas/Unsplash © Sue Thomas/Unsplash

Allowing insect populations to fall too far into decline could have severe consequences for many ecosystems. Image: Sue Thomas/Unsplash

The first ever global review of declining insect populations has found buying organic food and urging political legislation to reduce pesticide use are the most effective actions we can take.

The review comes at a time when there is mounting concern about recent dramatic decreases in insect numbers, which could threaten a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems” if left unchecked.

According to the report, more than 40% of insect species’ populations are in decline and a third are already endangered. The total mass of all insects is falling by around 2.5% a year and the rate of extinction amongst insects is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Intensive agriculture is listed as the central cause of insect population declines, with heavy use of pesticides the main culprit. Researchers said the most simple solution to this issue would be to transition towards organic agricultural practices and dramatically reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Consumers can play an active part in encouraging this transition by purchasing organic food where possible and urging politicians to legislate for reduced pesticide use on conventional farms.

Insects fulfil crucial roles as pollinators and nutrient recyclers in the functioning of almost every ecosystem type on Earth, meaning their decline could have devastating impacts in almost every area of the food chain. Whilst isolated population collapses have been well-documented in cases such as Germany, this is the first review to strongly indicate the crisis is global.

“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” the researchers state in the report.

“The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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