Francisco Sánchez-Bayo: Drivers Of The Worldwide Decline Of Insects


As we point out in our review because of course apart from pointing the numbers and the species that are declining and the ones that are increasing, some of them are increasing as a result of the declines we also analyzed their drivers as indicated by the studies and also by observations all those drivers with other information all the other information that is available in the literature The main driver is basically the loss of habitat. Many habitants many ecosystems we are destroying starting from the tropical forest to the draining of wetlands in many developed and developing countries add to the expansion of urban areas and industries which have taken over more and more land so. that loss of habitat obviously is the main driver together with that one of the majors factors of the destruction is the agriculture tropical forests are cut down simply because of agriculture and not just to export something to developed countries it’s for agriculture to grow more soy beans or crops like in Brazil we know that and in southeast Asia the destruction of tropical forests is something rampant to plant crops Agriculture is the driver behind that And where we have agriculture we have the use of pesticides and fertilizers the pesticides are obviously insecticides and insecticides are designed to kill insects no one can deny pesticides are having a huge impact and as one of the drivers for the decline of insects And then there are also other chemicals which are toxic to Insects industrial chemicals toxins from mines and industry that have contaminated the waterways and so all things living in rivers and ponds and lakes are affected by these chemicals they are not as much effected by the pesticides and fertilizers pesticides are particularly toxic to insects and they are have a huge effect and I know this from personal experience for about 25 years and I have seen the impact of insecticides on communities of insects at all levels and it’s undeniable and then yes, the small drivers in some cases are important. for example introducing species animal species like possums in New Zealand which are eating up all the giant beetles. So this is one of the drivers. Changes in livestock management, for example in Europe have led to the decline of most of the dung beetles which is incredible the dung of the cattle and horses is not available anymore in the countryside. dung is collected and used for something else for manure and dung beetles don’t have access to it and so those dung beetles are disappearing which is a type of insect that is declining most rapidly and to some small extent some pathogens and parasites that impact small groups go example like bees and finally the climate change obviously and we don’t know much about climate change because there are contradictory studies on that. Some of them have shown an increase in the distribution of many species of insects due to global warming and that’s very easy to understand because most insects react positively. Warming environments and the highest diversity of insects is found in the tropics because it is a warm humid environment that is favorable for them but at the same time as many species are expanding particularly in North America in Europe which is where this effect has been observed In tropical countries it is having a different effect and it appears to be a combination of increasing temperatures, but also decline in humidity like I said insects need warmer temperatures but also humidity if humidity declines insects cannot reproduce so it seems that in tropical countries climate change is having a negative effect Where can I change this? Like I said it is two contradictory effects that are benefiting some insects but negatively impacting others.

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