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Insect extinction threat 11 February 2019

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. (via the Guardian)

Bees

By Damian Carrington

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered,  analysis in the first global scientific review of insect rates 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.

In the tropics, where industrial agriculture is often not yet present, the rising temperatures due to climate change are thought to be a significant factor in the decline. The species there have adapted to very stable conditions and have little ability to change, as seen in Puerto Rico.

Read more via the Guardian…