Scientists warn human activities like pesticide use, deforestation are driving insects to “apocalypse”
(Natural News) Scientists are sounding the alarm regarding an urgent biodiversity crisis called “insect apocalypse” as humanity’s environmental footprint is taking a huge toll on the world’s insect populations.
In a volume of new papers published in the journal PNAS, experts from around the world said that insect populations are suffering a “death by a thousand cuts” due to several human stressors including pesticide use, deforestation, intensive agriculture, light pollution and urbanization.
The scientists recommended several measures like banning pesticides and planting native plants to create “more and better insect-friendly habitats.” They noted that though most insect populations worldwide are dropping, some have been able to thrive due to conservation efforts.
Insect declines “tearing apart the tapestry of life”
David Wagner, a University of Connecticut entomologist and co-author of the volume’s introduction, emphasized the consequences of the declines and said that insects “are absolutely the fabric by which Mother Nature and the tree of life are built.”
Wagner stated that several insect populations are falling by around one to two percent. At that rate, according to Wagner, “You’re losing 10 to 20 percent of your animals over a single decade and that is just absolutely frightening. You’re tearing apart the tapestry of life.”
The declines are principally caused by agriculture, the introduction of invasive species, nitrification, pollution and land-use change especially deforestation. These are compounded by additional stressors at the local and regional level, such as insecticide and herbicide use, urbanization and light pollution.
“In areas of high human activity, where insect declines are most conspicuous, multiple stressors occur simultaneously,” the authors wrote in the introduction to the volume.
Roel van Klink, a researcher at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research who was not involved in the studies, told the Guardian: “The most important thing we learn [from these new studies] is the complexity behind insect declines. No single quick fix is going to solve this problem.”