Insects are fundamental to the functioning of land and freshwater ecosystems. They permeate all aspects of these ecosystems, chewing and pooing, pollinating, seed spreading and affecting each other’s population levels through predation and parasitism. They also provide ecological processes of vital importance for frogs, lizards, birds and mammals, especially as food items for these vertebrates.
Insects also supply ecosystem services of great benefit in support of human activity, especially food and fibre production, through actions such as pollination, nutrient cycling and control of pest insects. This means that the fate of insects is entwined with that of people and of many other vertebrates.
Yet all is not well with this entomological fabric. Insects are declining in abundance in many parts of the world, and species are being lost at a rapid rate, especially through the felling of tropical trees. MORE