Scientists Fear 'Insect Apocalypse' Will Be Brought on by Rising Temperatures

Rainbow Bugs On The Dried Leaf
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Due to data found in a recent Australian study, experts worry about the future of life on earth due to climate change and insects' role in biodiversity and pollination.

An international study on the future of insects has led experts to fear an “insect apocalypse” is impending given the rise in temperatures due to climate change, which would lead to negative results for much of life on earth.

The study looked at varying climate change scenarios, finding the loss of insects will drastically reduce the ability of humankind to build a sustainable future.

William Laurance, professor at James Cook University in Australia and co-author of the study, said in a statement that insects are important parts of biodiversity and provide services to the wider environment, including pollination, pest control and nutrient recycling.

These factors are important to several living creatures, including humans, Laurance said.

According to the study, climate change amplified the effects of other factors threatening insect populations, such as pollution, habitat loss and predation.

"It's essential to manage and restore habitats that make them as 'climate-proof' as possible and enable insects to find refuges in which they can ride out extreme climatic events," Laurance said.

According to the co-author, the biosphere has already warmed by almost 34 degrees Fahrenheit since industrialization. 

Unless greenhouse gasses are significantly reduced, the biosphere is projected to continue to warm another 35.6 - 41 degrees by 2100 unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced, according to Laurance.

This is important because an insect's small body size and inability to regulate their own body temperature mean they’re susceptible to changes in temperature and moisture, Laurance said.

"A growing body of evidence shows many populations of insects are declining rapidly in many places. These declines are of profound concern, with terms like an emerging 'insect apocalypse' being increasingly used by the media and even some scientists to describe this phenomenon," he said in the statement.

"The loss of insects works its way up the food chain, and may already be playing an important role in the widespread decline of their consumers, such as insect-eating birds in temperate environments."

"The evidence is clear and striking. We need to act now to minimize impacts on insect populations—we know how to do it, but the decision making and requisite funding keep getting pushed down the road," Laurance added.

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