A new study looked at the decline of pollinating insects across the United Kingdom. The study focused more on the range of these species -- basically, how many different areas you could find them -- as opposed to actual population numbers. And this was based on over 700,000 sightings made over the span of about 30 years, starting in 1980, and it analyzed over 350 different wild bee and hoverfly species that can be found throughout the UK.
What this study found was that a third of these species now occupy smaller ranges, and that the average number of species that can be found in a square kilometre fell by 11.
This mirrors other studies that have been conducted around the world, such as in Germany and Puerto Rico, which have really been highlighting the dramatic decline of insect populations. And some have come to view these trends as the beginnings of what could be a catastrophic collapse in our ecosystems, so this is some serious stuff!
This is because, while these insects function as both food and pollinators in the wild, they also work to pollinate about THREE QUARTERS of our crops, so they’re hugely integral to our food security as humans, as well.
The biggest factors to this decline in the UK is thought to be the destruction of wild habitats and the use of pesticides. Climate change may also have played a role, as the UK has gradually gotten too warm for some species.
These trends are expected to continue, unfortunately, until the UK looks into green subsidies, as well as improving their pesticide approval process so as to limit the use of these chemicals.
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