Scientists warn of consequences of extinction of insects

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Insects can bother a lot of people, that’s true, but it is also a fact that the smallest creatures on Earth – even those not so small – are fundamental to the ecosystem. To avoid a global catastrophe related to the disappearance of the little ones, a group of 30 scientists from around the world released a study with tips to preserve them.

Considering that pollution, climate change, overexploitation (such as when used for ornamental, pharmaceutical and food purposes) and loss of habitat are the main causes for the decline in the insect population worldwide, the human being has a fundamental role to stop this fall.

“They provide food for other animals and can also play a significant role in the functioning of freshwater ecosystems, forming a key component in the diversity of life,” says Dr. Hil, a specialist in aquatic environments and a supervisor of conservation projects.

Also according to the research, insects contribute to four main types of ecosystem services: provision, support, regulation and cultural. For example, they are part of the structure, fertility and spatial dynamics of the soil, as well as food networks, pollination, exchange of nutrients, suppression of pests, dispersion of seeds and decomposition of organic matter.

Therefore, the decline of insects can negatively affect the maintenance of the food supply – including that of humans.

How can we help?
The team behind the research drew up a small script that anyone can follow on a daily basis to prevent harm to these little ones. There are nine simple steps with actions that change little or almost nothing on a daily basis, but that can help in maintaining biodiversity.

“With insect extinctions, we lose much more than species. We lost abundance and biomass of insects, diversity in space and time with consequent homogenization, large parts of the tree of life, unique ecological functions and characteristics and fundamental parts of extensive networks of biotic interactions. Such losses lead to the decline of the main ecosystem services on which humanity depends, ”warn the researchers.

So, learn how to do your part:
1 – Avoid mowing the lawn frequently.
2 – Grow native plants, as many insects need them to survive.
3 – Avoid pesticides, at least in your own backyard.
4 – Forget old trees, trunks and dead leaves, as they are home to countless species.
5 – Build small insect “hotels” with materials that contain holes to serve as nests.
6 – Reduce your carbon footprint, which affects as much as other dangers.
7 – Support conservation organizations, even volunteering.
8 – Do not import live animals and plants or release them into the wild, as they can harm native species.
9 – Pay more attention to small creatures and take care of what is fragile.

It is important to preserve
The scientists make an appeal: “Insects provide essential and irreplaceable services, such as pollination and decomposition, discovery of new drugs, indication of the quality of the habitat and many others. We need urgent action to close major knowledge gaps and reduce insect extinction. ”

“Investment in research programs that generate local, regional and global strategies to combat this trend of declining insect populations is essential. Solutions are available and can be implemented, but urgent action is now needed to save the planet ”, they conclude.


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