'Ecological Armageddon': Plummeting insect populations could ravage life on Earth

'Ecological Armageddon': Plummeting insect populations could ravage life on Earth

'Ecological Armageddon': Plummeting insect populations could ravage life on Earth

A new study published Wednesday, revealing populations of flying insects like bees and butterflies plunged more than 75 percent in German nature preserves over the past 27 years, has scientists calling for further research into probable causes such as climate change and pesticide use, and raising alarms about a potential "ecological Armageddon". Researchers were aware numbers had been fallen, but they did not know to what extent. It's not exactly a stretch to think that manmade chemicals or other human factors are also contributing to the loss of insect populations on a much larger scale, and it's incredibly important that scientists pinpoint the cause and propose a solution.

The meticulous sampling of flying insects over so many sites and so many years yielded a dataset that is unique in the world, de Kroon told Seeker. They found a seasonal decline of 76% and a mid-summer drop of 82%, which showed them that the decline was happening regardless of the insects' habitat. "This decrease has always been suspected but has turned out to be more severe than previously thought". Weather and climatic changes seemed to have little bearing on the figures.

Scientists believe the fact the declines were recorded in well-managed nature reserves makes the results even more troubling, as numbers outside them, where wildlife has less or no protection, are likely to be even worse.

"We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are now on course for ecological Armageddon", said Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, who worked on the research team. "Insects make up about two thirds of all life on Earth", he said.

"We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are now on course for ecological Armageddon". "All these areas are protected and majority are well-managed nature reserves", said Caspar Hallmann at Radboud University and part of the research team, "yet, this dramatic decline has occurred".

"These surrounding areas inflict flying insects and they can not survive there", said Caspar Hallmann, researcher at Radboud.

"As entire ecosystems are dependent on insects for food and as pollinators, it places the decline of insect eating birds and mammals in a new context", states Hans de Kroon. "We can barely imagine what would happen if this downward trend continues unabated".

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