‘Nature is under seas’: Scientists’ sound alarm in insect apocalypses


A collection of new scientific papers written by 56 experts around the world reiterates growing concerns about the bug’s decline and urges people and governments to take immediate action to address the biodiversity crisis called the “insect apocalypse” It is said.

“The Global Degradation of Insects in the Anthropocene Special Feature,” including an introduction and 11 Papers, Posted on Monday in Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences With related news articles. “Nature is under siege,” scientists warn. “Insects suffer from death by a thousand cuts.”

The set of studies – resulting from a symposium in St. Louis – comes as the body of research on pest degradation has evolved in recent years, with major assessments published in February 2019 and April 2020, as well as a roadmap released last January by 73 scientists Detailed how to fight “bugpoclips”.

As the new package and graphic interpretation below, human stressors that experts have tied to bug degradation, include farming practices; Chemical, light and sound pollution; invasive species; Land-use change; Nitrification; Pesticide; And urbanization.

Death by a thousand cuts

Emphasizing the consequences of such a collapse, University of Connecticut entomologist David Wagner, the package’s lead author, pointed out The Associated Press That insects are “purely the fabric by which Mother Nature and the tree of life are built.”

According to Wagner, many insect populations are declining by about 1-2% per year. As he put it Guardian: “You’re losing 10-20% of your animals in a single decade and it’s absolutely horrifying. You’re breaking the tapestry of life.”

However, most of the reasons for the decline are well known, “There really is a big unknown and this is climate change – the one that really scares me the most,” he said, is the crisis warning “rate of extinction.” The reason we have not been “seen before.”

Roel van Kielink of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research told Guardian That “the most important thing we learn [from these new studies] There is complexity behind the deterioration of the insect. Any quick fix is ​​not going to solve this problem. “

“There are certainly places where insect abundance is declining strongly, but not everywhere,” he said. “This is a reason for hope, because it can help us understand what we can do to help them. When the situation improves they can bounce back really fast.”

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The introduction of the package suggests that recent research and the resulting news coverage focused on bug population declines, “The four letters in this special issue are examples of insect lineages that have not changed or increased in abundance.”

“Many moth species have expanded in range or population size in Great Britain,” the paper notes. “Many temperate insects, possibly limited by winter temperatures, have increased in abundance and range in response to warm temperatures.”

Pollinators, such as western honey bees in North America, “can flourish well because of their association with humans,” says Intro. “The increasing abundance of freshwater insects has been attributed to clean water legislation in both Europe and North America.”

In addition to the introduction, titled “Pest degradation in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts”, the package includes seven approaches:

The body of work also includes three separate research articles:

The final piece is an opinion “Eight simple actions that individuals can take to protect insects from global degradation,” which are five actions to make “more and better insect-friendly habitat, which is prone to damage, of the insect.” Is a major reason. ” Decline, ”and three that aim to accommodate public attitudes.

As Dhanna Noor wrote in her coverage Earrings: “I don’t like insects. Creepy, many-legged things creep up my skin. But as unpleasant as they are, insects are absolutely vital to the functioning of our world’s ecosystems, and sadly new research. Shows that organisms are over populated. Verge of collapse. “

To promote awareness and appreciation of pests, scientists suggest combating negative perceptions, advancing conservation efforts, and engaging in local political advocacy. On the housing improvement front, they are involved in converting lawns into diverse natural habitats, growing native plants, cutting pesticide use, limiting light pollution, and reducing soap runoff from washing vehicles and with outdoor construction – Also recommend the use of roadside and de-icing salts. .

“Avoiding some behaviors or adopting others will both directly and indirectly contribute to pest protection,” the scientists noted. “Furthermore, taking actions that address issues such as climate change can promote insect diversity. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a primary factor in local and regional plant and animal extinction.”

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