Towards an insect-free planet?

Two of every three animal species vermin. But they are increasingly threatened. Not only in urban environments, but also in the natural environment. The effects of global warming are wreaking havoc on more and more areas of the planet due to rising temperatures and water stress. The scientific world does not hesitate to talk about a real ‘Apocalypse of Pollinators’. Ecologists in Action actually emphasizes that: mammals have extinction rates eight times faster than birds and reptiles.

In addition to its enormous contribution to biodiversity, we must add its economic contribution due to its direct relation to agriculture. Seven out of ten crops for human consumption depend more or less on bees, for example. Experts cite the corresponding value of around 2,400 million euros for the Spanish countryside alone.

The curfew due to the pandemic, a rainy spring in 2020, the lack of activity, and the cessation of certain gardening or road clearing tasks have all facilitated the euphoric nature. A combination of factors that provide a temporary respite for dragonflies, wasps, grasshoppers or crickets. But this was something very special. The end of sanitary restrictions once again hastened the extinction of these tiny creatures.

picture of a dragonfly Pixabay

Conscious of the role they play in the animal chain, More and more municipal administrators are choosing to reduce fumigation in the green spaces of cities. They even bet that the grass grows freely.. City councils such as Barcelona, ​​Vigo or Valencia joined this trend, which has prevailed in many European cities for years and led to criticism from less conscious sections.

Along the same lines, some autonomous communities laws to reduce light pollution at night, which has a serious effect on insects. Restrictions include limiting the intensity and use of lights, advertising poles, and certain natural habitats. The goal is clear: to reduce the harmful effects that many organisms suffer from excessive artificial light.

Half a million species threatened with extinction

Biologists predict that At least one million species are threatened with extinction in the coming years, half of which are insects.. Not only the rarest varieties are disappearing, but also common and abundant varieties such as ladybugs. Worldwide, 40% of pollinating species and 9% of bees in the European context are estimated to be at risk of extinction as a result of human activities. The entry of invading aliens also aggravates the problem.

As Ecologistas en Acción’s latest report points out, society’s negative perception of these assets is unfair and erroneous, as just over 2% are harmful.

Bees are in a serious crisis Pixabay

Human-induced climate change leads to the extinction of non-adaptive organisms.. Insects’ biological cycles are highly dependent on “external variables such as temperature or humidity,” as they recall from the Cavanilles Institute of the University of Valencia. “One of the simplest responses to climate change is to change the distribution in space or time.

If temperatures rise, many organisms seek refuge in high-altitude areas or move north—or south depending on the hemisphere—or even change their migration habits. Same time, The fact that the flowering times are later or later also drags the living things that depend on these plants..

But all these changes require a great deal of genetic flexibility and have accelerated in recent years at a dizzying pace. “If we know that there are over a million species of insects, We cannot expect all of them to accept these changes, many will not.», says expert Joaquín Baixeras.



Joaquin Baixeras. Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology:

“Climate change is added to light pollution and pesticides”

75% of insect species in Europe are endangered. “Fever and less insects flock to lamp posts and you don’t see butterflies or wasps on roadsides”

Joaquin Baixeras remove VME

-Increasingly, the expression ‘bug apocalypse’ is used to express its great fall…

-Decades ago, conservationists focused their attention on insects, but the problem has only recently penetrated the public. We no longer see the roadsides filled with butterflies or wasps, and fewer and fewer insects are flocking to our town’s utility poles. It is said that 75% of the insect species in Europe may be in real danger. We pollute the environment with pesticides, light pollution, and have been affecting our ecosystems in various ways for decades. To all these attacks that we have yet to solve, a greater power has been added in huge proportions: climate change.

The situation of pollinators is of particular concern because of their impact on agriculture and the economy. Can the situation be reversed?

Pollinators have a direct impact on our agriculture, as they are an essential vector for the reproduction of many beneficial plants and are therefore of enormous economic importance. However, it is wrong to think that it is possible to reverse the situation simply by dealing with pollinators useful for agriculture, as they form a very complex web of relationships in nature that we are only just beginning to understand. For example, the loss of a specialized nocturnal pollinator on a single flower can cause a series of reactions in other pollinators that leave a diurnal plant unpollinated.

“Insects are wonderful intermediaries needed in the trophic chain”

– While experts strongly argue the importance of these small animals for biodiversity, the market is full of products that would eradicate them.

Yes, of course this is inevitable. Insects are found in numerous ecological relationships in both terrestrial ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. They are wonderful intermediaries necessary in food chains. The vast majority of insects are either harmless or perform invaluable functions as pollinators or decomposers, recycling millions of tons of organic matter each year. Except in extreme environments, its presence is universal. Humans invaded most ecosystems, we favored some plants over others (we call them crops) and some animals over others (we call them farm animals or even pets). If there are more than a million insect species, we cannot claim that none of them contradict our species, it is a statistical problem. In reality, only a small percentage of people are adversely affected. However, man is an extremely talented and relentless animal. Trying to compete with people or share a living space is an extremely risky bet. We have devised a number of strategies to get rid of our competitors, and these strategies are not clean or special at all, affecting many species whether they are harmful to us or not.

-I think that entomologists are very concerned about the effects of climate change.

-No doubt. By the early 1990s, there was already a clear interest in insect conservation, but the scientific community did not see climate change as a serious threat and did not detect an overall decline. The conservation issue is limited to priority species and habitats. Today, consensus on the decline in insect populations is growing: the evidence is clear. We can discuss the extent of the problem, its derivatives, or the contribution of the different aspects we mentioned earlier, but we cannot deny that there is a problem. Insect conservation is already as serious a problem as any other animal group.


Contact address of the environment department: [email protected]

Source: Informacion


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