“Extreme land use combined with warming temperatures are pushing insect ecosystems toward collapse in some parts of the world, scientists reported Wednesday.
The study, published in the journal Nature, identified for the first time a clear and alarming link between the climate crisis and high-intensity agriculture and showed that, in places where those impacts are particularly high, insect abundance has already dropped by nearly 50%, while the number of species has been slashed by 27%.
These findings raise huge concerns, according to Charlotte Outhwaite, the lead author on the study and researcher at the University College London, given the important role of insects in local ecosystems, pollination and food production, and noted that losing insects could threaten human health and food security.
“Three quarters of our crops depend on insect pollinators,” Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex in the UK, previously told CNN. “Crops will begin to fail. We won’t have things like strawberries.”
“We can’t feed 7.5 billion people without insects.”
Outhwaite said their findings “may only represent the tip of the iceberg,” because of the limited amount of evidence in some regions.”
To read the study published in Nature, “Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide,” go to: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04644-x
Outhwaite, C.L., McCann, P. & Newbold, T. Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04644-x
Two additional resources on the “insect apocalypse” and “insect crisis” are the following books: “Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse” (2021) and “The Insect Crisis: The Fall of Tiny Empires That Run the World” (2022).