Image: Elegance Nairobi
A James Cook University scientist says an emerging ‘insect apocalypse’ will have radical effects on the environment and drastically reduce the ability of humankind to build a sustainable future.
JCU’s Distinguished Professor William Laurance is co-author of a major international study on the future of insects under climate change scenarios.
He said the biosphere has already warmed by about 1.1° Celsius since industrialisation and is projected to warm a further two to five degrees by 2100 unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.
“A growing body of evidence shows many populations of insects are declining rapidly in many places. These declines are of profound concern, with terms like an emerging ‘insect apocalypse’ being increasingly used by the media and even some scientists to describe this phenomenon,” said Professor Laurance.
He said insects are important parts of biodiversity and provide services to the wider environment such as pollination, pest control and nutrient recycling – beneficial to other higher-order creatures including humans.
“The loss of insects works its way up the food chain, and may already be playing an important role in the widespread decline of their consumers, such as insect-eating birds in temperate environments,” said Professor Laurance.
He said insects are among the most affected groups of animals from climate change, due to their generally small body size and because the vast majority of species can’t regulate their own body temperature, so are susceptible to changing temperature and moisture levels.
The study found habitat loss and fragmentation and isolation, chemical or organic pollution, invasive species and other human-caused changes to the environment are currently recognised as the main drivers of the decline of insects, with climate change amplifying the effects of the other threatening factors.
“If, as it seems, climate change is to continue unabated and with climatic extremes in particular posing an immediate, short-term threat to insects with long-term consequences for ecosystems, it’s essential to manage and restore habitats that make them as ‘climate-proof’ as possible and enable insects to find refuges in which they can ride out extreme climatic events,” said Professor Laurance.
He said at larger scales, corridors should be maintained that enable insects to disperse over time to more climatically suitable habitats.
“The evidence is clear and striking. We need to act now to minimise impacts on insect populations – we know how to do it, but the decision making and requisite funding keep getting pushed down the road.
“If instead we decided to conserve insect communities and restore the ecological balance in farming landscapes, human welfare could be improved and substantial downstream benefits could be reaped,” said Professor Laurance.
Original Article: Apocalypse soon – scientists warn of insect decline
More from: James Cook University
The Latest Updates from Bing News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Hornet-Free Horizon: Good News in WA’s Annual Pest Hunt
The best news from the report is that no northern giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia, also known as the Asian giant hornet) have been detected in Washington. Over 800 WSDA traps and nearly 200 WSDA ...
- Bayer, BASF lobby pushed to scrap safety rules on new GM crops – even if they increase pesticide use
The GMO industry wants GM herbicide-tolerant and insecticide-producing crops to be allowed into our fields and onto our plates without safety checks or labelling. The European Commission and some MEPs ...
- Edible Insects for Animal Feed Market to Rise at 23% CAGR to Achieve US$ 40.67 Billion by 2034 | Fact.MR
Nutritional Richness and Immune-boosting Properties of Edible Insects for Animal Feed Key Market Driving FactorRockville , Dec. 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new research report by Fact.MR, a market ...
- P.E.I. Invasive Species Council begins preparing for arrival of invasive insect
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The P.E.I. Invasive Species Council (PEIISC) has begun raising public awareness about an invasive species impacting hemlock trees in Nova Scotia. The hemlock woolly adelgid ...
- Without insects world is poorer
It would be a huge loss if bird populations decline these "Forest orderlies." Forest fires in Siberia and America led to scorched or millions of hectares, respectively, inhabited by insects, birds, ...
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Performing the Insect and Its Mysterious Metamorphosis
Insect metamorphosis fascinated Greek philosophers, bewildered Christian theologians, affirmed the beliefs of Chinese moralists, and continues to mystify science. Yet dramas representing human-animal ...
- Viruses Shown to Be Effective Biological Control
Scientists in Japan identified a virus in tobacco cutworms that kills males, creating all-female generations for biological control.
- Insect Bites: How to Tell What Bit or Stung You
If you are allergic to certain insect bites or stings, for example, you may develop a severe and life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. There are many different types of insects and their bites ...
- Where did all the Florida lovebugs go? And will they come back?
Leppla fell in love with these particular bugs in 1972, when he moved from Arizona to the Sunshine State on a research grant. His first paper on lovebugs, published two years later, studied their ...
- Edible insects: Do insects actually taste any good?
Edible insects are often portrayed as something of a sustainable superfood - an environmentally friendly alternative to livestock. But who is already eating them and do they actually taste any good?