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Great Britain

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust call for action after insect decline report

A WILDLIFE trust has joined others across the country in calling for action after new report revealed the consequences of declining insect populations.

Insect Declines and Why They Matter, published on November 13 and commissioned by The Wildlife Trusts, describes knock-on effects of the current decline, including impacts on insect-eating birds, bats, and fish, as well as the cost to society in terms of the millions in lost revenue and broken ecosystems.

Authored by invertebrate expert Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, the report also highlights a path to reversing the rate of decline.

Mr Goulson said: "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.

"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.”

The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has joined the Wildlife Trusts' call for a coordinated action from government, local authorities, food growers and the public, to ensure insect populations can recover.

Steve Ashton, from the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, said: “We are really concerned with the findings in this report, insects are vital and there are lots species of birds and animals rely on them for a food source.

"We are encouraging people to consider doing things in their own garden such as stop using pesticides and plant flowers that are good for pollinators and generally make their garden wildlife friendly.

"There is some good news with butterflies like the Dingy Skipper and Grayling which is doing well on some of the urban sites in and around Teesside.”

Wildlife Trusts across the Country 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.

The group are also supporting the introduction of an ambitious and legally binding pesticide reduction target for the UK and are asking the public to take action for insects at home by changing their gardening habits to provide havens for insects and wildlife.

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