Scientists warn that insects could be facing “Armageddon” after a new study found that more than 75 percent of the insect population in Germany has declined in the last two decades.
According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the dramatic decrease in insects could have disastrous consequences for agriculture, as well as ecosystems as a whole.
“We face an ecological Armageddon. It sounds melodramatic but it’s true,” said Dave Goulson, one of the lead researchers for the study. “We need to do something and it’s urgent, it’s not something we can ponder for a few more years.”
For the last 27 years, researchers and amateur entomologists have set traps on nature reserves across Germany and collected data on insect populations, searching for clues on why insects have been declining. The study concluded that multiple factors have contributed to the population decline, including climate change, pesticides, and agricultural practices.
Golson stressed that each of these causes has one thing in common — they’re man-made.
Similar studies have been conducted to chart the decline in bumblebees in the United Kingdom and the monarch butterfly in the United States. But researchers say these findings are particularly noteworthy because the sharp population decline isn’t limited to a particular species.
Goulson said he hopes the study’s findings will serve as a wake up call and that changes will be implemented — and quickly — before it’s too late.
“Insects are food for most birds and fish, and bats, they’re kind of central to everything,” he said. “This isn’t something that only matters to academics in labs or butterfly collectors.”