The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.
The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said. The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.
Insects account for 2/3 of all life on earth and there's this whole food chain thing we're dependent on—in addition to the whole pollination thing—so, like Jesse said, we're pretty much fucked if insect populations keep trending downwards at a rate of 6% per year. So, yeah. We're killing everything and we're all going to die. The only outstanding question at this point is whether the planet is going to shrug us off before we manage to do ourselves in—ourselves and every other living thing on the planet.