From February 11, 2019
Peer-reviewed journal Biological Conservation has published an article “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers” authored by two Australian scientists, FranciscoSánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G.Wyckhuys.
The authors concluded that human activity is driving over 40% of insect species to extinction. As the major reasons are named loss of habitat, agro-chemical pollutants (pesticides), invasive species and climate change.
Abstract of this study states as follows:
Biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide. Here, we present a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports of insect declines from across the globe, and systematically assess the underlying drivers. Our work reveals dramatic rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades. In terrestrial ecosystems, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) appear to be the taxa most affected, whereas four major aquatic taxa (Odonata, Plecoptera, Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera) have already lost a considerable proportion of species. Affected insect groups not only include specialists that occupy particular ecological niches, but also many common and generalist species. Concurrently, the abundance of a small number of species is increasing; these are all adaptable, generalist species that are occupying the vacant niches left by the ones declining. Among aquatic insects, habitat and dietary generalists, and pollutant-tolerant species are replacing the large biodiversity losses experienced in waters within agricultural and urban settings. The main drivers of species declines appear to be in order of importance: i) habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation; ii) pollution, mainly that by synthetic pesticides and fertilisers; iii) biological factors, including pathogens and introduced species; and iv) climate change. The latter factor is particularly important in tropical regions, but only affects a minority of species in colder climes and mountain settings of temperate zones. A rethinking of current agricultural practices, in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices, is urgently needed to slow or reverse current trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide. In addition, effective remediation technologies should be applied to clean polluted waters in both agricultural and urban environments.
The list of environmental pollutants might be, however, soon expanded. The rapid deployment of the 5th generation of the wireless communication technology (5G), will cause that a huge number of the micro-cell-towers will be densely distributed throughout the urban areas. For the the non-urban areas there are plans to deploy satellites, to the low orbit, that would beam the microwaves and provide internet connectivity for any and all locations on earth.
Without an urgent governmental intervention, this might be not so distant future.
The 5G-involvement has been pointed out in a recent study. It has demonstrated that the radiation levels emitted by the cell towers of the 5G networks will heat bodies of insects to the levels that will be able to affect their normal physiology: Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz. Thielenset et al., Scientific Reports 2018, 8:3924.
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