* The world may be facing a devastating “hidden” collapse in insect species
due to the twin threats of climate change and habitat loss.
* UCL’s Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research has carried out one
of the largest-ever assessments of insect declines around the world –
assessing three-quarters of a million samples from around 6,000 sites.
* The new study, published in Nature, finds that climate-stressed farmland
possesses only half the number of insects, on average, and 25% fewer insect
species than areas of natural habitat.
* Insect declines are greatest in high-intensity farmland areas within
tropical countries – where the combined effects of climate change and
habitat loss are experienced most profoundly.
* The majority of the world’s estimated 5.5 million species are thought to
live in these regions – meaning the planet’s greatest abundances of insect
life may be suffering collapses without us even realising.
* Lowering the intensity of farming by using fewer chemicals, having a
greater diversity of crops and preserving some natural habitat can mitigate
the negative effects of habitat loss and climate change on insects.
* Considering the choices we make as consumers – such as buying shade-grown
coffee or cocoa – could also help protect insects and other creatures in the
world’s most climate-vulnerable regions.
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