by Renate Sander-Regier

Even a small garden, like this one at Hilson Public School, filled with a variety of native plants, can provide food and habitat for pollinators.

For years, researchers and journalists have been pointing to the dramatic loss of insects around the world (see links below). But insect decline has not entered into public discussion as much as other global and environmental phenomena – likely for a complex combination of reasons articulated by the late Stephen Kellert, who devoted much of his career to studying the intricate links between humanity and the natural world (see Values and perceptions).

In the past year, however, plummeting global insect populations have attracted increasing attention, and rightly so, since this multitude of diverse life forms plays critical roles in keeping the planet habitable – from pollination and seed dispersal, to nutrient cycling, pest control, decomposition, and more (see What is the importance of insects in the ecosystem).

Some of the most recent articles, published by groups of experts in January and February of this year, provide descriptions of global insect decline and offer solutions that involve civil society (all of us!), land-users, and policy/decision-makers operating

  • in various sectors, including agriculture, forestry, mining, urban planning/management
  • in diverse environments, including forests, grasslands, agricultural landscapes, and urban and suburban areas
  • at various scales
    • from micro-habitats and landscapes, to regional and global expanses
    • from immediate actions, to mid- and long-term measures

The scope of the information in the articles is mind-boggling, but the summaries are helpful. And the overall tone is encouraging. There is much we can do, and we can make a big difference if we take immediate action.

Ideas to help in­sects

  1. Avoid mowing your garden frequently; let nature grow and feed insects.
  2. Plant native plants; many insects need only these to survive.
  3. Avoid pesticides; go organic, at least for your own backyard.
  4. Leave old trees, stumps and dead leaves alone; they are home to countless species.
  5. Build an insect hotel with small horizontal holes that can become their nests.
  6. Reduce your carbon footprint; this affects insects as much as other organisms.
  7. Support and volunteer in conservation organizations.
  8. Do not import or release living animals or plants into the wild that could harm native species.
  9. Be more aware of tiny creatures; always look on the small side of life.

From: Sci­ent­ists warn hu­man­ity about worldwide insect decline, and suggest ways to recognise and avert its consequences. See also, full article (open access).

In Researchers united on international road map to insect recovery, the authors offer a “road map to insect conservation and recovery,” with immediate, mid-term, and long-term actions (click on the image at the right for a better view). See also, full article (gated).

We, WPP-PPS members, are all in there, participating as global citizens and consumers, but contributing to solutions as individuals, groups, and organizations concerned about the plight of wild pollinators, and part of a network seeking to support wild pollinators – and, by extension, other insects.

What we are doing is important. What more can we do? How can we improve what we are already doing? We will have some of those discussions at our 2nd annual Wild Pollinator Partners-Partenaires des pollinisateurs sauvages colloquium on 8 March 2020. Join us there.

More information

To learn more about what the experts are saying about global insect decline and solutions, here are some links.



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