Sunday 21 April 2019

Insects have ‘no place to hide’ from climate change, study warns

Analysis of 50 years of UK data shows woodlands are not havens, while changing emergence times damage nature and farming
Damian Carrington Environment editor
Mon 1 Apr 2019 17.07 BSTLast modified on Mon 1 Apr 2019 20.40 BST
Insects have “no place to hide” from climate change, scientists have said after analysing 50 years’ worth of UK data.
The study found that woodlands, whose shade was expected to protect species from warming temperatures, are just as affected by climate change as open grasslands.
The research examined records of the first springtime flights of butterflies, moths and aphids and the first eggs of birds between 1965 and 2012. As average temperatures have risen, aphids are now emerging a month earlier, and birds are laying eggs a week earlier. The scientists said this could mean animals were becoming “out of sync” with their prey, with potentially serious ramifications for ecosystems.
Researchers are increasingly concerned about dramatic drops in populations of insects, which underpin much of nature. In February it was said that these falls could lead to a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, and in March there was further evidence of widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades in Britain.
Other studies, from Germany and Puerto Rico, have shown falling numbers in the last 25 to 35 years. Another showed butterflies in the Netherlands had declined by at least 84% over the last 130 years.

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