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World's insects could be wiped out 'within a century' as scientists warn they are dying out eight times faster than mammals

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/2/2019 Eleanor Sharples For The Daily Mail

Insects could become extinct within a century if their rapid rate of decline continues, according to the first global scientific review.

The speed at which insects are dying out is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles, with analysis finding that more than 40 per cent of species are declining and a third endangered.

With the total mass falling by 2.5 per cent a year, insects could become extinct in the next one hundred years, according to the best data available.

A University of Sydney study says insects could become completely extinct within 100 years © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A University of Sydney study says insects could become completely extinct within 100 years

Insects are crucial to all ecosystems because of their role in pollinating plants and flowers, and as a food item for other creatures.

Any major decline in insect species will ultimately have a huge impact on humans too.

While there have been recent reports of heavily declining insect numbers in Puerto Rico and Germany, the review indicates it is a worldwide crisis.

It says: ‘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.’

Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, said: ‘If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind.’

He described the 2.5 per cent rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years as ‘shocking’.

He said: ‘It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.’

a close up of a flower: The study finds found they are dying out eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The study finds found they are dying out eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles

Insects are crucial to all ecosystems because of their role in pollinating plants and flowers, and as a food item for other creatures.

Any major decline in insect species will ultimately have a huge impact on humans too.

While there have been recent reports of heavily declining insect numbers in Puerto Rico and Germany, the review indicates it is a worldwide crisis.

It says: ‘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.’

Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, said: ‘If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind.’

He described the 2.5 per cent rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years as ‘shocking’.

He said: ‘It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.’

The decline is blamed mainly on intensive agriculture.

The study is published in the journal Biological Conservation.

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