Insect populations are plummeting across the world because of industrial farming and heavy pesticide use, and this decline is a threat to food production, warned a new report released on Tuesday (9 June 2020). The ‘Insect Atlas’ is a comprehensive new global review of trends in insect populations, their relationship with agriculture, and what needs to be done to ameliorate it. It was published by the Green think tank Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in conjunction with environmental campaigns group Friends of the Earth Europe.
The report concluded that insect species and pollinators are in severe decline, with 41% of all insect species in decline and one-third threatened with extinction. It also highlighted that this reduction includes pollinators, as at least one in ten bee and butterfly species in Europe is on the brink of extinction.
Pollinators contribute directly to around one-third of global food production, with 75% of our most important crops dependent on pollination by insects, which makes insect decline a serious concern for food security.
The report puts this decline down in large part to industrial agriculture and its intensive use of pesticides, which the report said has risen five-fold since 1950, with more than four million tonnes sprayed on fields worldwide every year.
Source: EURACTIV, 9 June 2020
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