Why should we care if insects disappear?

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Believe it or not, insects play a fundamental role in the sustainability and economy of the planet

Why should we care if insects disappear?

Insects seem to be insignificant beings and sometimes they are even annoying because of their appearance. However, these small animals are fundamental to the survival of life on the planet. Moreover, without them, humanity is condemned to disappear, because these animals are responsible for various environmental functions on which the human being depends.

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According to a summary of forecasts of UN Environment, published in January this year, and entitled "We are losing the 'little things that run around the world'", "insects make up about half of all known living organisms. They play key roles in pollination, the nutrient cycle, the food chains of birds and other insectivores, and are one of the pillars of our ecosystems. However, the widespread use of insecticides, the fragmentation of habitats and climate change pose multiple threats to them, and their populations are suffering a sharp decline".

Unfortunately, the disappearance of insects due to anthropogenic factors jeopardizes the environmental and economic stability of the planet. The document is clear in pointing out that insects are necessary to maintain soil fertility because without it agriculture would begin to decay and with it the global food system. Contradictorily, it is the same intensive agriculture, with the use of agrochemicals, which has caused the population of insects to decrease drastically.

Additionally, there are other factors that cause insects to disappear. For example, climate change, light pollution and the fragmentation of habitats cause these small animals to be affected and may even become extinct.

How serious is the disappearance of insects?

The United Nations warns that of the total number of insect species worldwide, 40% is in decline and one third is in danger of extinction. The situation is so alarming that the extinction rate is eight times larger than that of birds, reptiles, and mammals.

"The insects of the world are rushing down the path of extinction, and their disappearance would lead to a catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems," said Marieta Sakalian, biodiversity expert at UN Environment, in statements made by the agency. According to Sakalian, "we need to act urgently on many fronts to stop this decline."


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The summary of forecasts shows that in order to stop the massive disappearance of insects, strategies must be proposed and implemented that change the way food is produced. Sakalian says that "food systems must change and corrective measures, such as the planting of indigenous tree species and the reconstruction of degraded landscapes, must be expanded."

The good news is that we can help

UN Environment it is emphatic to point out that we can take action and try to diminish that the insects keep disappearing. The international organization explains that:

  • "Crop yields could be increased if strips of flowers and hedges are planted, which will provide nesting resources.
  • Pesticides could be used in a more specific way.
  • The diversity of pollinators could be increased by restoring semi-natural and natural areas.
  • They could install insect shelters and butterfly farms. "


LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

Translated from "¿Por qué debería importarnos que los insectos desaparezcan?"

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