Recently, we shared news from The Guardian about the collapse of insect populations in rainforests around the world. The report came from scientists Brad Lister, who discovered that 98% of ground insects had vanished in the Luquillo Rainforest in Puerto Rico.

Now, just a few weeks later, a global scientific review would suggest this is happening globally. As The Guardian describes:

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are “essential” for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: “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,” they write. “The repercussions this will have for the planet’s ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least.”

Read the full story on The Guardian.

Meanwhile, read more of the latest conservation news below, and subscribe to receive the top news delivered straight to your inbox.

Recommended Reading

  • Report: California’s tree die-off reaches 147 million, boosting fire threat (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Environment suffering multiple crises that threaten to destabilise society and global economy, experts warn (The Independent)
  • Environmental groups plan to sue U.S. Steel over air pollution (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)