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Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust calls for urgent action for insects, as a new report reveals true impacts of unnoticed invertebrate apocalypse

13th November 2019 – A new report, Insect Declines and Why They Matter, commissioned by a group of Wildlife Trusts has revealed conclusively that drastic declines in insect numbers look set to have far-reaching consequences for wildlife and people.  The new report, authored by invertebrate expert Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, highlights the real and lasting knock on effects of the declines on insect eating birds, bats, and fish, and also the cost to society in terms of the millions in lost revenue and broken ecosystems.

In parallel to revealing the urgency of the problem, the report however also highlights a clear path to reversing the worrying rate of decline and suggests measures that could take the nation off the route to what is an imminent ecological disaster. The Trusts believe that with a coordinated and concerted action from government, local authorities, food growers and the public, insect populations can recover and thrive once more so they can fulfil their incredibly important roles in the ecosystems that support all life. (see Appendix A).

Prof Goulson, author of the report, says: 

 “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. If we don’t stop the decline of our insects there will be profound consequences for all life on earth.

And it’s not just our wild bees and pollinators that are declining – these trends are mirrored across a great many of other invertebrate species. Of serious concern is the little we know about the fate of many of the more obscure invertebrates that are also crucial to healthy ecosystems.

What we do know however is that the main causes of decline include habitat loss and fragmentation, and the overuse of pesticides. Wild insects are routinely exposed to complex cocktails of toxins which can cause either death or disorientation and weakened immune and digestive systems.”

 In a sobering warning the report concludes: “The consequences are clear; if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse, with profound consequences for human wellbeing.”

Wildlife Trusts across the Country, including Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, are calling for a new Environment Bill to secure the creation of a far reaching and resilient nature recovery network to reverse the decline of insect populations and all wildlife.

The group are also supporting the introduction of an ambitious and legally binding pesticide reduction target for the UK; a crucial step in safeguarding invertebrates. A number of other countries in Europe alre