DRASTIC declines in insect numbers look set to have far-reaching consequences for wildlife and people.

That is according to a new report, Insect Declines and Why They Matter, commissioned by a group of Wildlife Trusts in the south-west.

The new report, written by invertebrate expert Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, highlights the real and lasting knock-on effects of the declines on insect-eating birds, bats, and fish, and also the cost to society in terms of the millions in lost revenue and broken ecosystems.

The Trusts believe that with a coordinated and concerted action from government, local authorities, food growers and the public, insect populations can recover and thrive once more. 

Professor Goulson said: “Insects make up the bulk of known species on earth and are integral to the functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, performing vital roles such as pollination, seed dispersal and nutrient cycling.

“They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians and lizards.

blackbird

“If we don’t stop the decline of our insects there will be profound consequences for all life on earth.

“We know the main causes of decline include habitat loss and fragmentation, and the overuse of pesticides.

“Wild insects are routinely exposed to complex cocktails of toxins which can cause either death or disorientation and weakened immune and digestive systems.”

In a sobering warning the report concludes: “The consequences are clear; if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse, with profound consequences for human wellbeing.”

Read the full report here


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