Climate change alone poses serious risks to insect populations that have already been in sharp decline for decades. According to a team of scientists from 19 countries who have examined research on insect health across the planet.
While warming will force some insects to migrate to cooler regions. Others will face adverse impacts on their fertility, life cycle, and interactions with other species, scientists explain in a study. This will lead to dramatic alterations in ecosystems, which could ultimately affect all of us.
“We need to realize, as humans, that we are one species among millions of species. And there is no reason for us to assume that we will never go extinct. These changes in insects can affect our species quite drastically,” says Anahí Espíndola, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, who was one of the paper’s co-authors.
Despite their relatively small size, insects have a great influence on ecosystems by acting as pollinators. Recycling nutrients, and serving as food for animals further up the food chain. However, many are especially vulnerable to temperature fluctuations.
“Unlike mammals, many insects are ectothermic, meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature. Because they are so dependent on external conditions. They can respond to climate change more acutely than other animals,” the scientists say in a statement about their research.
As temperatures around the world continue to rise, more and more insects will be affected. If the planet warms by 3.2°C, the levels of nearly half of all species will drop by at least 50%, say scientists. If warming is limited to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement, only 6% of insect ranges will be affected.
The mass movement of insects in the face of a changing climate will not necessarily be a blessing either. Some insects can become much more ubiquitous in some areas, decimating crops or carrying disease.
“Many pests are actually quite generalists, which means they can feed on many different types of plants,” says Espíndola. “And those are the insects that, based on the data, appear to be the least negatively affected by climate change.”
save the bugs
However, we can still take action to protect habitats around the world. We can do this by phasing out fossil fuels, curbing air pollutants, restoring and protecting ecosystems, promoting primarily plant-based diets, and stabilizing the global human population.
At the same time, we can all help by managing public and private gardens and other green spaces in a more environmentally friendly way. One way to do this is to incorporate native plants into the mix and avoid pesticides to create havens for beleaguered insects.
“Insects are tough buggers and we should be relieved that there is still room to correct our mistakes,” says Jeffrey Harvey, an expert at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and lead author of the paper.
“We really need to enact policies to stabilize the global climate. In the meantime, both at the governmental and individual levels, we can all contribute and make urban and rural landscapes more insect-friendly.”
“Scientists expect climate change to negatively affect biodiversity – the amount of variation found in Earth’s genes, species and ecosystems. Understanding which species may be most at risk could allow conservationists to more precisely target efforts to combat diversity loss” the press release states.
Also, in figuring out how to investigate how temperature change would directly affect insect populations, the team integrated data projections from the World Climate Research Program of how insects behave at different temperatures and mathematical models also called “dynamic modeling.”
If farmers want to share information or experiences related to farming with us, then they can do this by calling us on the phone number 9599273766 or by writing an email to [email protected] or by sending your recording. Through Kisan of India, we will convey your message to the people, because we believe that if the farmers are advanced then the country is happy.