Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'

Oct 2010
64,833
25,702
Colorado
#1
"...the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades."

Bugs? What use are they? Wouldn't humankind be better off without bugs?

No, resoundingly, no. Life on earth depends upon bugs, and they're disappearing at an alarming and accelerating rate.

Plummeting insect numbers
'threaten collapse of nature''
The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.​
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.​
The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.​
Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.​
“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”​
...“If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.​
The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”​
One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.
...“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.
...The world must change the way it produces food, Sánchez-Bayo said, noting that organic farms had more insects and that occasional pesticide use in the past did not cause the level of decline seen in recent decades. “Industrial-scale, intensive agriculture is the one that is killing the ecosystems,” he said.
...Other scientists agree that it is becoming clear that insect losses are now a serious global problem. “The evidence all points in the same direction,” said Prof Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex in the UK. “It should be of huge concern to all of us, for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.”

More: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'
 
Nov 2013
2,177
902
NM
#2
Yes, very soon - if not already - humanity will enter uncharted territory. No species occupies all the possible niches in its environment - we need plants, bacteria, insects, our fellow vertebrates. If we remove enough key species, the entire biosphere collapses until some new equilibrium is reached - if that's possible. & in the meantime, we'll have mass deaths. If no equilibrium is possible, if too many key species have already gone under, then the entire biosphere might collapse down to something simpler, that would serve as the baseline for the next rise of interdependent life.

Whether that simplified biosphere would be capable of supporting human life @ our current technological level - is the terrifying question.
 
Likes: imaginethat
Apr 2014
1,021
403
Heart of America
#4
Yes, very soon - if not already - humanity will enter uncharted territory. No species occupies all the possible niches in its environment - we need plants, bacteria, insects, our fellow vertebrates. If we remove enough key species, the entire biosphere collapses until some new equilibrium is reached - if that's possible. & in the meantime, we'll have mass deaths. If no equilibrium is possible, if too many key species have already gone under, then the entire biosphere might collapse down to something simpler, that would serve as the baseline for the next rise of interdependent life.

Whether that simplified biosphere would be capable of supporting human life @ our current technological level - is the terrifying question.
Meh. it's evolution; either we'll survive or we won't. Not all life will disappear. The higher organisms will die off but the lower and, possibly, middle ones will survive and thrive in the niches vacated by the higher organisms.
 
Jun 2018
3,831
956
South Dakota
#5
I dare you to go to Fla and say that!
OBTW what happened to the idea that harvesting and eating bugs will save the planet?
 
Nov 2013
2,177
902
NM
#6
I dare you to go to Fla and say that!
OBTW what happened to the idea that harvesting and eating bugs will save the planet?
If the insects themselves, & amphibians & corals & bats & so on are already dying out too fast, then clearly eating insects is out of the question. Insects already are on the menu here & there in the World, BTW. But that doesn't get much play in US media.
 
Dec 2016
4,388
2,274
Canada
#7
"...the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades."

Bugs? What use are they? Wouldn't humankind be better off without bugs?

No, resoundingly, no. Life on earth depends upon bugs, and they're disappearing at an alarming and accelerating rate.

Plummeting insect numbers
'threaten collapse of nature''
The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.​
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.​
The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.​
Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet.​
“Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”​
...“If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.​
The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”​
One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.
...“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades.
...The world must change the way it produces food, Sánchez-Bayo said, noting that organic farms had more insects and that occasional pesticide use in the past did not cause the level of decline seen in recent decades. “Industrial-scale, intensive agriculture is the one that is killing the ecosystems,” he said.
...Other scientists agree that it is becoming clear that insect losses are now a serious global problem. “The evidence all points in the same direction,” said Prof Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex in the UK. “It should be of huge concern to all of us, for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.”

More: Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'
The problem today is each ecology bad news story that pops up is treated separately and usually filed away never to be seen again. I'm inclined to believe the capitalist masters of the universe are either all psychopaths..who have no effective concept of risk or have decided to enjoy it while it lasts and let everything burn! A few years back, an ocean study revealed that plankton levels in the world's oceans had declined 40% from 1970 to 2010.....it wasn't stated, but declines in oxygen-generating ocean plants will lead to ocean dieoffs and all of the world's oceans turning anoxic in a very short timeframe! Add it all together and what should have been treated as an emergency has been dealt with by ignorance or given 'market' solutions like building more windmills and solar panels...so a few self-conscious liberals can feel good that they did their part while extinction bears down on everyone!
 
Likes: imaginethat
Oct 2010
64,833
25,702
Colorado
#8
Yes, very soon - if not already - humanity will enter uncharted territory. No species occupies all the possible niches in its environment - we need plants, bacteria, insects, our fellow vertebrates. If we remove enough key species, the entire biosphere collapses until some new equilibrium is reached - if that's possible. & in the meantime, we'll have mass deaths. If no equilibrium is possible, if too many key species have already gone under, then the entire biosphere might collapse down to something simpler, that would serve as the baseline for the next rise of interdependent life.

Whether that simplified biosphere would be capable of supporting human life @ our current technological level - is the terrifying question.
This is the sixth great extinction. The earth seems to recover. Dinosaurs and other species don't seem to.
 
Oct 2010
64,833
25,702
Colorado
#9
Meh. it's evolution; either we'll survive or we won't. Not all life will disappear. The higher organisms will die off but the lower and, possibly, middle ones will survive and thrive in the niches vacated by the higher organisms.
Offer that rationale to your grandchildren, and their grandchildren....
 
Oct 2010
64,833
25,702
Colorado
#10
The problem today is each ecology bad news story that pops up is treated separately and usually filed away never to be seen again. I'm inclined to believe the capitalist masters of the universe are either all psychopaths..who have no effective concept of risk or have decided to enjoy it while it lasts and let everything burn! A few years back, an ocean study revealed that plankton levels in the world's oceans had declined 40% from 1970 to 2010.....it wasn't stated, but declines in oxygen-generating ocean plants will lead to ocean dieoffs and all of the world's oceans turning anoxic in a very short timeframe! Add it all together and what should have been treated as an emergency has been dealt with by ignorance or given 'market' solutions like building more windmills and solar panels...so a few self-conscious liberals can feel good that they did their part while extinction bears down on everyone!
Or, a whole bunch of "conservatives" (root word, "conserve"... for irony) can say fuggit, AGW is all a bunch of liberal BS, let's keep putting fossil carbon into the atmosphere because it ain't hurting anything, really, and besides, plants grow better with more CO2 anyway.
 

Similar Discussions