Scientists Unveil a Roadmap to Stop Insect Extinction Crisis

In 2019 we learned that the world’s insects are facing an extinction crisis: more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. When insects disappear, entire ecosystems suffer as a result. That’s why more than 70 scientists from around the world have put together a new “roadmap to insect recovery” that calls for comprehensive global action to protect insects like tacking GHG emissions and drastically limiting the use of pesticides and insecticides.

These are some of the high-level actions that scientists propose to combat insect extinction:

  • Taking aggressive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Drastically reducing the use of fertilizer and pesticides
  • Reversing recent trends in agricultural intensification
  • Promoting the diversification and maintenance of locally adapted land-use techniques;
  • Reducing identified local threats such as light, water or noise pollution, invasive species
  • Prioritizing the import of goods that are not produced at the cost of healthy, species-rich ecosystems;
  • Funding educational and outreach programs/ investing in capacity building to create a new generation of insect conservationists and providing knowledge and skills to existing professionals (particularly in developing countries). This is perhaps the biggest emphasis that the scientists make: we need MORE KNOWLEDGE. 

Phases of the Roadmap: As Phys explained, the steps to be taken are divided into immediate, mid- and long-term actions. First of all, there are a number of actions coined as ‘no-regret solutions’ that can be taken immediately and regardless of new knowledge still to come—as they will not just benefit single insect species. Secondly, there is the urgent need to prioritize: which species, areas, and issues need our attention the most.

  • For the mid-term, new experiments should be planned to clarify which stress factors cause what effects as well as to gain knowledge in understudied areas.
  • More long-term actions would include the formation of public-private partnerships and sustainable financing initiatives to restore and create places to live for the insects.

Why This Matters: Insects are often overlooked and undervalued. When polar bears are threatened by human activity, headlines follow, but it’s hard to drum up the same interest for the likes of beetles. As NatGeo explained, almonds in California or watermelons in Florida wouldn’t be available if it were not for bees. Insects also return nutrients to the earth. If they weren’t around, the amount of decay and rot all over the place would be terrible. To preserve biodiversity and our way of life, we must take the conservation of insects very seriously.

Up Next

One Cool Thing: Alligators Can Regrow Their Tails

One Cool Thing: Alligators Can Regrow Their Tails

Scientists have long known that some reptiles — like lizards and geckos — can regrow their tails.  But they recently learned that alligators can do the same, CNN reports.  This was a surprise to scientists, who used advanced imaging techniques to discover that juvenile alligators also have the ability to regrow their tails up to […]

Continue Reading 108 words
Utah’s Largest Wildlife Overpass Sees Impressive Early Results

Utah’s Largest Wildlife Overpass Sees Impressive Early Results

by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer Dozens of animals are using Utah’s largest wildlife overpass sooner than expected, and experts are excited about what this means for the safety of people and local wildlife. The overpass, which was built over Interstate 80 in Utah, is 50 feet wide and 320 feet long and serves as […]

Continue Reading 523 words
Trump Takes Aim at Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Reduces Protections for Nations Birds

Trump Takes Aim at Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Reduces Protections for Nations Birds

On Friday, the Trump administration moved another step closer to cutting federal protections for birds despite opposition from conservation groups and experts. Former federal officials have come forward to say that cuts will severely endanger the U.S. bird population.


Why This Matters: There are approximately 7 billion birds in North America. Harmful industrial practices in the U.S. kill an estimated 450 million to 1.1 billion birds each year in the U.S., according to estimates by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Continue Reading 544 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.