A joint study by Chinese and Australian scientists predicts a disaster in 50 years. It's terrible - and not just for bugs.
Among the many aspects of the planet's devastation, little attention is paid to the imminent collapse of insect populations.
Recent work, by scientists from the Australian universities of Sydney and Queensland, and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, shows that there should be more concern about the issue. The results were reported by the American site Truthout.
The main conclusions
a) 40% of the existing insect species are threatened;
b) every year, the planet loses 2.5% of all the biomass of this huge group of invertebrates. The causes are the devastation of ecosystems, the massive use of agricultural poisons and global warming.
The consequences, little known, are dramatic. If the current pace is maintained, says the Sino-Australian research, half of the current insect biomass could be lost within 50 years.
Animals, often despised for their size, make up, along with arachnids and crustaceans, 50% of all the animal biomass on the planet. And they are at the base of almost all ecosystems.
For example: 60% of bird species totally depend on them for their food. Also, 80% to 90% of plants depend on insects for pollination.
A collapse of the insetivore population could therefore have catastrophic consequences for all life on the planet.
There is no way out, he says Truthout, But it will require a surprising change in current patterns of production and consumption. It is necessary, in particular, to rethink productivist agriculture and livestock.
Currently, an area equivalent to all of South America is used for agriculture; and livestock (including the production of food for livestock) consumes an Africa. One of the obvious ways out is the substantial reduction in meat consumption - particularly bovines.