A group of leading entomologists and ecologists, including Professor James Logan (Head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Director of ARCTEC), have called on the UK’s research establishment to investigate the real threat of ecological disruption caused by insect decline.
In the past weeks, there has been significant focus and media attention on the declining health of wold nature. First, a report suggesting more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered (11 February), followed by another report revealing widespread losses of pollinating insects across Britain (27 March).
A letter has now been submitted to the Guardian scolding science-funding bodies and the government for their ‘deafening silence’ and ‘no apparent reaction’ to similar reports of insect decline in recent years. Professor James Logan has joined this group of experts in urgently calling on the UK’s research establishment to take action now before insect decline causes serious ecological harm.
Though there is clear exaggeration in some headlines in the media implying the imminent doom and extinction of insects, ‘there is good evidence that insects are declining, and the ecological consequences may be serious’ according to this group of entomologists and ecologists.
The letter highlights the vital role of insects in our ecosystem, they ‘underpin most non-marine food networks’. The loss of insects would ‘threaten the stability of wild nature, leading to reductions in numbers of insectivorous animals and those that eat them’.
With more than 25 signatories, the Guardian letter is a significant call to action from leading academics in the fields of entomology and ecology which will be difficult to ignore. And ignorant is a risky strategy. The letter concludes with a stark warning – ‘we dispossess them [insects] at our peril’.
The Guardian letter can be viewed at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/28/insect-decline-will-cause-serious-ecological-harm