Insects could be extinct within a century, scientists say

An Indian farm worker sprays pesticide on a paddy crop near Jalandhar. Pesticide use is a major contributing factor to plummeting insect numbers a recent study has found

Insects could be extinct within a century, scientists say

Insects are necessary to all ecosystems, pollinating plants and serving as food for other animals.

According to the study, the total mass of insects is falling by 2.5 percent each year.

The analysis, the primary worldwide assessment of its type, checked out 73 historic reviews on insect declines around the globe and located that the whole mass of all bugs on the planets is lowering by 2.5% per year. The biggest driver in insect declines is the loss of habitat and conversion of land to intensive farming and urban areas, followed by pollution, mainly by chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

Insects could become extinct in 100 years, scientists have warned.

Meanwhile, the planet is said to be undergoing its sixth mass extinction due to the "biological annihilation" of wildlife in recent decades, while the insect population collapses that have already been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico are now thought to be related to a crisis that's global. "It is very rapid", he went on to say, "in 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none".

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.

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The total mass of insects - which now outweighs humanity by 17 times over - is falling by 2.5 percent a year, which suggests they could vanish altogether within the next century. The Huffington Post noted that many insects, including native bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and aquatic insects are bugs that might die within the next century.

Experts estimate that flying insects across Europe have declined 80 per cent on average, causing bird populations to drop by more than 400 million in three decades. The heavy use of pesticides, climate change and invasive species were also pinpointed as significant causes.

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 researchers also note this is the first study of its kind to provide a global picture of insect decline.

"The essential role that insects play as food items of many vertebrates is often forgotten", the researchers said.

They suggested overhauling existing agricultural methods, "in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices".

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