Intensive agriculture and the climate crisis are among the biggest contributors to habitats and ecosystems, and insects are among the major species that are suffering from this, as a new study from University College London has shown.
The study linked changes in land use and global warming with the loss of biodiversity and the extinction of animal species. Research has shown that climate change and the intensive use of agricultural land have already been responsible for a reduction of almost half the number of insects in the most affected parts of the world.
The study showed that in areas with high intensity agriculture and characterized by significant levels of climate warming, the number of insects was 49% lower than in other areas less affected by abnormal temperatures. Tropical areas have experienced the greatest declines in insect biodiversity.
The researchers also found that, in areas characterized by significant global warming but not affected by intensive agriculture, the loss of biodiversity among insect species was more contained.
Charlie Outhwaite: "Insects vulnerable to climate crisis and human pressure"
The disappearance of many species of insects, especially pollinating ones, could damage our food security, causing the disappearance of crops essential for our survival.
Charlie Outhwaite, one of the authors of the study, analyzes: “Many insects appear to be very vulnerable to human pressures, which is worrying as climate change presses on and agricultural areas continue to expand.
Our findings highlight the urgent need for conservation actions. natural habitats, slow the expansion of high-intensity agriculture and reduce emissions to mitigate climate change." The pollinating insects play a crucial role in fruit growing and horticulture: in fact, without their activity there would be no production of apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, apricots, almonds, strawberries.
The relationship between pollinating insects and plants is also studied from an ecological point of view as a biological indicator in environmental monitoring. A 2013 study by the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences suggests that flowers are able to signal the availability of nectar within them by modulating their electric field. In fact, flowers have a weak negative electric charge, unlike pollinating insects which have a positive charge.