Sánchez-Bayo and his co-authors centered their evaluation on bugs in European and North American nations.
But insects comprise about two-thirds of all terrestrial species, and have been the foundation of key ecosystems since emerging nearly 400 million years ago. Insects are necessary to all ecosystems, pollinating plants and serving as food for other animals.
Almost half of all insect species worldwide are in rapid decline and a third could disappear altogether, according to a study warning of dire consequences for crop pollination and natural food chains.
"From our compilation of published scientific reports, we estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline (41 per cent) to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction (10 per cent) eight times higher, confirming previous findings", they wrote.
What we need to do is to change the way we make food, or we can say our goodbyes to the insects.
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As the Australian researcher Francisco Sánchez-Bayo told the newspaper: "If insect species losses can not be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet's ecosystems and for the survival of mankind". Lepidoptera, the order of insects that includes butterflies, which are often the canary in the coalmine for ecosystem problems, have declined by 53 percent.
Even though the study pointed out that intensive agriculture and urbanization are the main drivers of major insect losses, other factors, including climate change, pathogens, and synthetic pesticide pollution, could be contributing to this catastrophic bug issue.
"It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want".
"Fast-breeding pest insects will probably thrive because of the warmer conditions, because many of their natural enemies, which breed more slowly, will disappear, " said Prof Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex who was not involved in the review.
They suggested overhauling existing agricultural methods, "in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices". Nonetheless, a new study which found that insects are dying at record rates, should alarm us due to the fact that insect extinction would mean catastrophic consequences for ecosystems on Earth, and thus for us. 'So give it a million years and I've no doubt there will be a whole diversity of new creatures that will have popped up to replace the ones wiped out in the 20th and 21st centuries'.
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