Insects are facing extinction worldwide

An Indian farm worker sprays pesticide on a paddy crop near Jalandhar. Pesticide use is a major contributing factor to plummeting insect numbers a recent study has found

An Indian farm worker sprays pesticide on a paddy crop near Jalandhar. Pesticide use is a major contributing factor to plummeting insect numbers a recent study has found

"So we still need the bees and the other insects to come along and pollinate them. 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 numerous world's ecosystems since their rise at the end of the Devonian period, nearly 400 million years ago".

Published in the journal Biological Conservation, it reviews 73 existing studies from around the world published over the past 13 years. The researchers found the main driver for insect losses was the use of " intensive agriculture", a method of farming that is cost and labor intensive- using large amounts of fertilizers and pesticides for crops, and medication for animal stocks.

Forty per cent of insect species are suffering dramatic declines in their populations that could lead to extinction, a review of global insect numbers has found. Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, one of the report's co-authors, told The Guardian: "It is very rapid".

"From our compilation of published scientific reports, we estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline (41 percent) to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction (10 percent) eight times higher, confirming previous findings". The Huffington Post noted that many insects, including native bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and aquatic insects are bugs that might die within the next century.

'Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades.

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"Thirdly, we have biological factors, such as invasive species and pathogens; and fourthly, we have climate change, particularly in tropical areas where it is known to have a big impact". "If insect species losses can not be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind".

"If insect species losses can not be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind", stated Francisco Sanchez-Bayo of the University of Sydney and an author of the study. Also, climate change plays an important role.

Ultimately, if huge numbers of insects disappear, they will be replaced but it will take a long, long time.

The authors are concerned about the impact of insect decline up along the food chain. Drastically reduce pesticide use and redesign agricultural systems to make them more insect-friendly.

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