There are 17 times more insects around the world than humans, according to another study.
According to the study's authors, insects have served as the "structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise. nearly 400 million years ago". Meanwhile, when asked about the main cause of the decline, Sánchez-Bayo believes it's due to agricultural intensification, specifically in relation to insecticides that have been introduced in the last 20 years.
A third of the total world's insects are endangered, the report found, warning that at their current pace of extinction, they might disappear completely in 100 years.
The report, published by Elsevier's journal Biological Conservation and circulated by ScienceDirect.com, asserts that the "biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide". As for pollinators, we have already documented the decline in butterflies and bees, so essential to our agricultural needs.
Of the insects most depleted, butterflies and moths are said to be among the worst hit, while bees and beetles have been reported to be on a rapid decline as well. The rate of extinction among insects is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
One of its authors, Francisco Sanchez-Bayo, from the University of Sydney, described the 2.5 per cent rate of annual loss over the past 25-30 years as "shocking".
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"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades", they wrote.
"Thirdly, we have biological factors, such as invasive species and pathogens; and fourthly, we have climate change, particularly in tropical areas where it is known to have a big impact".
The world is teetering on the edge of a man-made apocalypse, as insects could die out within a century - leading to a 'catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems. 'It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want.' Prod Goulson added if huge numbers of insects disappear, they will be replaced - just don't expect it to happen anytime soon.
The authors are concerned about the impact of insect decline up along the food chain.
"There is not a single cause, but the evidence is clear, to halt this crisis we must urgently reverse habitat fragmentation, prevent and mitigate climate change, clean up polluted waters and replace pesticide dependency with more sustainable, ecologically-sensitive farming".