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Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
03-02-2019, 08:42 AM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2019 08:52 AM by Dan.)
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RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature
(02-23-2019 04:36 PM)Joe Horn Wrote:  
(02-23-2019 07:47 AM)Dan Wrote:  According to this disturbing article... Insects will be gone within a century if current trends continue.

The article lost all its credibility with me when it cited Paul Ehrlich as one of its supporting experts...So, anybody who quotes him as an authority about predicting the future is scientifically illiterate.

Paul Ehrlich did not write the scientific review that is the focus of the article. He was just one of several people whose response to the scientific review was quoted in the article.

Another was Professor Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex in the U.K., a bee expert and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, who said "It should be of huge concern to all of us, for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.”

The scientific review itself was written by Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney, Australia and Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, and published in the journal "Biological Conservation". It can be found here.

Their scientific review is a "comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe", and "reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world's insect species over the next few decades...The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance: i) habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation; ii) pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; iii) biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and iv) climate change. The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climes and mountain settings of temperate zones. A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments."

The authors write in their conclusion that "unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades...The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least, as insects are at the structural and functional base of many of the world's ecosystems."

I think insects are marvellous creatures in their own right. One of my favourite exhibits at the Melbourne Zoo is the Butterfly House. I hope future generations can enjoy them too.

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RE: Plummeting insect numbers threaten collapse of nature - Dan - 03-02-2019 08:42 AM

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