Life sustainability depends to a large extent on the food chain and how this chain thrives in the ecosystem. If any component of this food chain is disturbed then the entire chain gets affected by it. When we talk about insects, it forms a very integral part of this chain as they help in pollination and are also prey to other wildlife.
A recent study in Germany has shown that there has been a drastic decrease in the insect population which is as high as 76 percent over the last 27 years. This decline definitely sounds alarming as it may have a strong effect on the larger ecosystem and could be the cause for the “Ecological Armageddon”, having extensive impacts on human society.
The study is worsened by the fact that the decline was widespread across all habitats in protected areas and well managed natural reserves. While deforestation, high level of use of pesticides and climatic changes could be cited as reasons for some of the fluctuations but the actual cause of the kind steep decline is still not ascertained.
The research that was published in one of the journal called Plos One was based on the study of many entomologist all over Germany who started by using standardised ways of collecting insects in 1989. At 63 different nature reserves, malaise traps which are actually special tents were used to capture more than 1,500 samples of all different types of flying insects including wasps, flies, butterflies etc. Later the total weight of the insects in each of the sample was measured which exposed the shocking decline. What was more staggering was the fact that the fall was even higher an astounding 82 percent in the summer season when actually the insect population reach the peak.
Insects and more importantly the flying insects have a major role to play in the ecosystem. Insects like flies, moths, butterflies and bees help in the pollination process of many flowering plants and crops. They are also food for many birds and animals like bats, fish, some mammals, reptiles and amphibians. On the other hand some insects like flies, wasp’s beetle’s etc. act as predators and help in the decomposing process. If any of these factors are disrupted then the ecosystem as a whole gets affected thereby posing a great threat to the entire humanity in general.
In order to avoid such a condition, we must take all the measures that help in the sustainability of insects. Most importantly we should not disturb their natural habitat by cutting out the wild areas and removing the flower laden farmlands. Minimising the usage of chemicals and pesticides would definitely have a positive impact. Until the actual reasons are ascertained, the research work should be done on a larger scale across other nations as well. This would help in determining the loopholes responsible for this massive insect death and give us a more eco friendly environment to live in.
Article by Abirami.