In this episode, I speak with Environmental Scientist and Ecologist Francisco Sánchez-Bayo. Fransisco is the lead-author of the scientific survey ‘Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers,’ co-authored with Kris Wyckhuys, which reviews dozens of contemporary research from around the world that has documented the rapid decline of global insect populations, indicating that most species of insects are likely to go extinct by the end of the century. The paper also examines the primary drivers behind the loss of global insect biodiversity, which has pushed over 40% of insect species towards extinction within the next few decades, and the majority of insect species by the end of the century.
The drivers that are causing the severe loss of biodiversity for insects around the world are directly related to chemical-intensive monoculture agricultural practices. Deforestation and the intensive use of insecticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers has led to a catastrophic decline of global insect populations — in particular pollinators, which are fundamental for the survival of crops and plant life in general. As agricultural land conversion continues unabated around the world, especially in the most biodiverse regions on the planet, we will continue to see wide-ranging damage to ecosystems, with 10% of insects having gone extinct over the past several decades. “Over the past 30 years, the total mass of all insects dropped an average of 2.5 per cent annually. The “dramatic” fall suggest none will be left in 100 years.” (https://ind.pn/2vLMHtx) As Francisco expresses in this interview, we need to radically transform how we produce and consume food on this planet, not only as a means to move away from the use of ecologically destructive chemicals, but to “allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide.” (http://bit.ly/2PVS1U6) Fransisco goes over all this information and more in this episode.
Francisco Sánchez-Bayo is an ecotoxicologist and terrestrial ecologist, with a focus on risk assessment of pesticide contaminants on organisms, particularly on birds and aquatic ecosystems, and fate and transport of neonicotinoids and other agricultural chemicals in the environment. He is a former researcher at the University of Sydney, and currently works for the Department of Environment and Energy of Australia. (http://bit.ly/2vNJIR6)
- Read the survey ‘Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers’ here: http://bit.ly/2PVS1U6
- The songs featured in this episode are “Sunny” and “Orange Crayon” by Kiefer from the EP Bridges.