The ‘Insect Apocalypse’ Has Been Canceled
“The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” declared the stark New York Times headline in November 2018. The article focused on a 2017 German study that said the mid-summer levels of “flying insect biomass” in 63 nature preserves had declined by 76 percent over 27 years. In a 2019 study in Biological Conservation, researchers warned that we might see “the extinction of 40% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades.”
Big if true.
Now a new study in Nature Ecology & Evolution offers some happier news: In the United States at least, the abundance and insect biodiversity trends are “generally indistinguishable from zero.” In other words, there is no detectable insect armageddon here. “This lack of overall increase or decline was consistent across arthropod feeding groups and was similar for heavily disturbed versus relatively natural sites,” note the researchers. “The apparent robustness of US arthropod populations is reassuring.”
The researchers came to their conclusions by parsing the da
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