More than 40% of insect species can die out over the next few decades, according to the report "The World's Decay of the Entomophon: Review of Its Drivers," published in the journal Biological Conservation.
Biomass of insects is lowered by an impressive 2.5% per year, indicating a large-scale extinction within one century, reports the report.
In addition to 40% of the risk of extinction, one third of the species are endangered – the numbers that can cause the destruction of ecosystems of the planet with a devastating impact on life on Earth.
The report, co-authored by scientists from the universities of Sydney and Queensland and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, examined dozens of existing insect reduction reports published over the past three decades and considered the reasons for falling numbers to create an alarming global picture. Her chief author, Francisco Sanchez Bayo, School of Life Sciences and Environmental Sciences at Sydney University, described the study as the first truly global study on this issue. Although the past focused on reducing biodiversity in vertebrate animals, this study emphasized the importance of insect life in interconnected ecosystems and the food chain. Mistakes make up about 70% of all types of animals.
The consequences of the extinction of insects would be "catastrophic, at least," according to the report, since the insects were on the "structural and functional basis of many of the world's ecosystems since their recovery … almost 400 million years ago.
The main causes of the decline "Loss of habitat and transition to intensive agriculture and urbanization", pollution, in particular from pesticides and fertilizers, as well as biological factors such as "pathogens and introduced species" and climate change.
Although a large number of specialized insects, such as and fill a specific ecological niche, and common insects declined, a small amount. The presence of adaptive insects is observed with increasing numbers – but nowhere else is enough to delay the decline, reported in the report.
Small creatures that govern the world
Don Sands, an entomologist and scientist at the retirement of the Scientific-Industrial the research community of the Commonwealth, said that he "fully" agreed that "from the bottom up" the consequences of insect loss are serious.
"If we do not have insects as moderators of other pest populations, we have a population of insects that flare up and destroy crops and make them difficult to grow," he said.
He added that the ecosystem at this level is "the bottom layer, and if we do not turn to her, life can be immeasurably affected.
" (Insects) are small creatures that govern the world, "he said.
The decline is not new: researchers warn of this phenomenon and its effects for many years.
"These are not agricultural areas, these are sites for biodiversity conservation, but we still see that insects are slipping out of our hands," said co-author of this report, Caspar Holman.
Birds eating birds
The species that rely on insects as a source of food – and predators above up the food chain that eats these species – are likely to suffer from these reductions, according to scientists. The treatment of both crops and wild plants will also be affected, as well as the nutrient cycle in the soil.
About 80% of wild plants use insects for pollination, whereas 60% of birds are relied on insects as a source of food. Sends said that the direct danger of reducing insects is the loss of insectivorous birds, as well as the risk that large birds will turn from food insects to food each other.
In her native Australia, "birds that exhaust the food of insects rotate each other," he said, adding that it is likely to be a global phenomenon.
Necessary radical actions
The authors of the report called for radical and immediate action. "Because insects are the most widespread in the world and (variously by species) a group of animals and provide critical services in ecosystems, such events can not be ignored and should lead to decisive action to prevent a catastrophic collapse of natural ecosystems," they wrote.
They proposed to reconsider the existing agricultural methods, "in particular, the serious reduction of pesticide use and its replacement by more sustainable, environmental methods."
"The conclusion is clear: if we do not change our ways of producing food, the insects will generally go through extinction for several decades," they conclude.