Land overuse, resource depletion, and global warming have all had disastrous implications for the world. According to a new study, portions of the planet are now on the verge of an insect apocalypse.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature, discovered a link between high-intensity agriculture and the ever-present climate emergency. They discovered that insect counts have decreased by about 50% and the number of species has decreased by 27% in some parts of the world.
Insects serve a critical part in ecosystems, and rising temperatures are threatening to wipe out essential ecosystems. Insects pollinate plants and aid food production, and while they may appear minor, their extinction could endanger human health and food security.
Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex in the UK, previously spoke with CNN about the importance of insects to our world.
“Three-quarters of our crops depend on insect pollinators,” he said. “Crops will begin to fail. We won’t have things like strawberries. We can’t feed 7.5 billion people without insects.”
The lead author of the study, Charlotte Outhwaite at the University College London said that there needs to be more research because they may have only touched the ‘tip of the iceberg’ since there was limited evidence in some regions.
“But I think there are also a lot of consequences that we probably don’t really know because obviously there are so many different kinds of insects,” Outhwaite told CNN. “They do so many important things. We just don’t have a strong handle on how much we rely on them for certain situations.”
The researchers state that high-intensity agriculture is one of the main probable culprits of this insect decline. High-intensity agriculture uses mass amounts of chemical pesticides or fertilizers, low crop diversity, and even high livestock density.
In today’s world, livestock farming is one of the most damaging things that is happening to our planet. The food that needs to be produced to feed the mass amount of animals we produce is not sustainable, and experts theorize that we will run out of food to feed the planet by 2050 if we don’t change something soon.
Corn, soy, and wheat are the most commonly grown crops. We grow these crops so intensely and repeatedly that it has been damaging to the planet. There are far fewer nutrients in the soil than there were before. Nearly all of these crops are grown to feed livestock.
Soy production in Brazil plays a huge role in the growing deforestation of the Amazon rainforest as huge areas are being cleared out for new soy production to feed the insane amount of animals that we grow for meat. Eating meat is the least sustainable thing that you can do.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from a 20-year period in more than 6,000 locations and studied almost 18,000 insects like butterflies, moths, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and bees.
They found that areas that used more low-intensity agriculture have less climate change, and a nearby natural habitat had much lower declines in insects at 7 percent. In comparison, areas with the opposite saw a 63 percent decrease in insects. Many insect species rely on abundant plants for shade and protection but as the plants and ecosystems die off, so do the insects.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 27 April 2022. Lead Image Source : Delbars/Shutterstock.
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