Full disclosure: I was once a volunteer activist for what became a local chapter of the Pesticide Action Network.
There has been enough media buzz about this issue lately that I think it deserves its own thread.
We also have a thread on Mosquitos:
Articles, comments, and discussion narrowly focused on mosquitos should be made to that thread.
Conservationist Warns 'Unnoticed Apocalypse' of Insects 'Should Set Alarms Ringing'
(Common Dreams) Conservationists on Wednesday called for immediate action by governments, industries, and the public to address a decades-long, human-caused insect "apocalypse" detailed in a new report and warned of the sweeping, serious consequences of inaction.
Insect Declines and Why They Matter (pdf) was commissioned by an alliance of The Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom and authored by University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulson, described by The Guardian as "one of the U.K.'s leading ecologists."
"Insects make up the bulk of known species on Earth and are integral to the functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, performing vital roles such as pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycling. They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians, and lizards," Goulson said in a statement Wednesday. "If we don't stop the decline of our insects, there will be profound consequences for all life on Earth."
The report's executive summary says that over that past 50 years, "we have reduced the abundance of wildlife on Earth dramatically." Although "much attention focuses on declines of large, charismatic animals," the report continues, "recent evidence suggests that abundance of insects may have fallen by 50% or more since 1970."
Recent findings on insect declines driven by habitat loss and pesticide use are "troubling" because "if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse," the report explains. Underscoring the need for action, the report warns that 41% of the planet's five million insect species are "threatened with extinction."
Edit: "Media buzz" - no pun intended.