Insects crucial for ecosystem functioning and food production
A comprehensive review of insect declines around the world gives a stark picture of the scale of the declines and the consequences both for ecology and human welfare. The paper, published in Biological Conservation, warns that 40% of the world’s insect species could become extinct within a few decades under current trends. And the loss of this diversity could lead to dramatic increases in pest insects which harm food production and human health.
Climate change is going to mean mosquito-borne diseases
spread north out of the tropics right? That seems to be the story the news media are giving us. But it is really the case? Do we really need to start thinking about buying bednets to protect against mozzy bites?
As editor of Global Health database I was invited to the ISNTD Bites
seminar in London, at the Natural History Museum where the issue was hotly debated. The session on climate change and disease vectors showed that
while biology of disease vectors like mosquitoes and sandflies is affected by temperature there are several other
factors that influence spread of disease vectors and the diseases they carry that may mean they don’t spread in the way straight climate maps predict.
Among these are land use, urbanisation and global trade. In fact, the
entomologists at the seminar were arguing that climate change issues are
distracting researchers from looking more into factors that are having drastic effects on the spread of disease vectors
and disease right now.
We’ve explored obesity in many different forms during the course of this year
and if you’re a regular Handpicked reader (enter your email in the box on the
left and click on ‘subscribe’ to become one if you’re not already), you’ll by
now be well aware of a recurring theme in our nutrition posts. Energy. This
thread will doubtless also run through the imminent new CABI product
Environmental Impact (plug, plug), where I hope the loose ends help the experts
tie the information in nice, concise and user-friendly packages as opposed to a
confused mess of knots.