Shocking research has revealed that 40 percent of the world’s insect species are now threatened with extinction, which could lead to a collapse of nature’s ecosystem. The study was published in the journal Biological Conversation, with the authors stating that the decline of insects is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles, with numbers dropping at a steady 2.5 percent a year as Earth faces its sixth mass extinction in its history. Matt Shardlow, the Chief Executive of Buglife, told BBC Radio 4’s World at One about the consequences of an insect extinction.
Mr Shardlow said: “We eat food ourselves and we plant that food in the soil. That soil is there because the earthworms, the woodlice and the other invertebrates are all making it happen.
“Even if the plants grow successfully, we still need them to be pollinated in most cases by insects.
“So we still need the bees and the other insects to come along and pollinate them.
“The moment we start to lose all that invertebrate biodiversity we start to risk the whole food supply of the planet.
“It also obviously has massive implications in the sea and in fresh waters in terms of the ability for those resources to stay clean and useable by human beings.”
As a result of the report, Mr Shardlow said there is “a lot of action” needed to stop the extinction of insects.
He added: “There are lots of different species all doing different things and declining for different reasons.
“Climate change is one of the big reasons we have got to obviously start and tackle climate change properly, to tackle it and also reduce it.
“We have lost so many habitats, fragmented in the countryside, we need to look at how we put those back together.”
The Buglife CEO also said intensive farming is a lot to blame for the increase in endangered insects.
Authors of the report warned: “Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40 percent of the world’s insect species over the next few decades.
“From our compilation of published scientific reports, we estimate the current proportion of insect species in decline (41 percent) to be twice as high as that of vertebrates, and the pace of local species extinction (10 percent) eight times higher, confirming previous findings.
“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.
“The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”