Conservationists on Wednesday called for immediate action by governments, industries, and the public to address a decades-long, human-caused insect \u0022apocalypse\u0022 detailed in a new report and warned of the sweeping, serious consequences of inaction.\u0022If we don\u0026#039;t stop the decline of our insects, there will be profound consequences for all life on Earth.\u0022—Dave Goulson, ecologistInsect Declines and Why They Matter (pdf) was commissioned by an alliance of The Wildlife Trusts in the United Kingdom and authored by University of Sussex biology professor Dave Goulson, described by The Guardian as \u0022one of the U.K.\u0026#039;s leading ecologists.\u0022\u0022Insects make up the bulk of known species on Earth and are integral to the functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, performing vital roles such as pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycling. They are also food for numerous larger animals, including birds, bats, fish, amphibians, and lizards,\u0022 Goulson said in a statement Wednesday. \u0022If we don\u0026#039;t stop the decline of our insects, there will be profound consequences for all life on Earth.\u0022The report\u0026#039;s executive summary says that over that past 50 years, \u0022we have reduced the abundance of wildlife on Earth dramatically.\u0022 Although \u0022much attention focuses on declines of large, charismatic animals,\u0022 the report continues, \u0022recent evidence suggests that abundance of insects may have fallen by 50% or more since 1970.\u0022Prof @DaveGoulson\u0026#039;s new report reveals that if insect declines are not halted, ecosystems will collapse with ‘profound consequences for human wellbeing’: https://t.co/xyHD1thBohSee the full report here: https://t.co/aI1iR7A4h3#WednesdayWisdom pic.twitter.com/QEqZDMVKpm— Research Development - Sussex Uni (@SussexUniRE) November 13, 2019Recent findings on insect declines driven by habitat loss and pesticide use are \u0022troubling\u0022 because \u0022if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse,\u0022 the report explains. Underscoring the need for action, the report warns that 41% of the planet\u0026#039;s five million insect species are \u0022threatened with extinction.\u0022\u0022The good news is that it is not too late,\u0022 the report emphasizes. \u0022We urgently need to stop all routine and unnecessary use of pesticides and start to build a Nature Recovery Network by creating more and better connected, insect friendly habitat in our gardens, towns, cities, and countryside.\u0022We are sawing off the very branch on which we are standing.This has to stop.Biodiversity loss and carbon emissions must be halted as soon as possible. https://t.co/KOxLHjGtwB— Extinction Rebellion Godalming (@XR_Godalming) November 13, 2019Insect Declines and Why They Matter outlines the emerging evidence of what it calls \u0022the unnoticed apocalypse,\u0022 highlighting key takeaways from various studies:23 bee and flower-visiting wasp species have gone extinct in the U.K. since 1850;Approximately two-thirds of the crop types grown by humans require pollination by insects;U.K. \u0022wider countryside\u0022 butterflies declined 46% and habitat specialists by 77% between 1976 and 2017;[The] number of pesticide applications has approximately doubled over the last 25 years;A survey of honey samples from around the world reveals that 75% contain neonicotinoid insecticides;U.K. populations of the spotted flycatcher fell by 93% between 1967 and 2016;Other once-common insectivorous birds have suffered similarly, including the grey partridge (92%), nightingale (93%), [and] cuckoo (77%); andThe red-backed shrike, a specialist predator of large insects, went extinct in the U.K. in the 1990s.\u0022This unnoticed apocalypse should set alarms ringing,\u0022 Wiltshire Wildlife Trust chief executive Gary Mantle declared in response to the report.\u0022We have put at risk some of the fundamental building blocks of life,\u0022 Mantle said. \u0022But as this report highlights, the main causes of insect declines are known and we can address them; insects and other invertebrates can recover quickly if we stop killing them and restore the habitats they require to thrive. But we all need to take action now in our gardens, parks, farms, and places of work.\u0022The report details various actions that garderners and allotment holders, local authorities, governments, regulators, industry, farmers, growers, land managers, policymakers, consumers, parents, and doctors can take \u0022to help invertebrate populations to recover.\u0022Very worrying new report from @SomersetWT shows the risk to food production if insect declines continue.We can reverse this if we move to nature-friendly farming methods, with farmers rewarded for providing public benefits such as habitats for wildlifehttps://t.co/KRQEYROFPH— CPRE The countryside charity (@CPRE) November 13, 2019Steve Garland, entomologist and chair of The Wildlife Trusts\u0026#039; policy body for England, said Wednesday that \u0022I really believe that the catastrophic decline of insects can be reversed by drastically reducing the use of chemicals in the environment and by creating a strong Nature Recovery Network to give them space to live and thrive in safety.\u0022Josie Cohen, head of policy and campaigns for Pesticide Action Network U.K., concurred.\u0022Reducing pesticide use is a challenge that society can no longer ignore,\u0022 said Cohen. \u0022We applaud the Wildlife Trusts and others for highlighting that routine overuse of pesticides is harming wildlife and the ecosystems that underpin our health and prosperity.\u0022Urging the U.K. government to adopt measures to drive down pesticide use, she added that \u0022we need an ambitious pesticide reduction target accompanied by a package of support for farmers to help them transition to non-chemical alternatives.\u0022We *can* reverse this worrying trend. Author @DaveGoulson supports farming reform; if you agree, please sign our petition calling for gov\u0026#039;t action on #pesticide reduction, and help for farmers to shift to nature friendly methods.https://t.co/1RjLpDIAQ4 #NatureFriendlyFarming— Friends of the Earth (@friends_earth) November 13, 2019While Insect Declines and Why They Matter points to habitat loss and pesticide use as key causes of insect declines, it also acknowledges other pollutants and stressors, from \u0022heavy metals such as mercury released by mining and industrial processes\u0022 to invasive species and the human-caused climate crisis.The Wildlife Trusts\u0026#039; new report followed global scientists\u0026#039; demand last month for a \u0022paradigm shift\u0022 in land-use policy in response to a decade-long biodiversity study that showed \u0022frightening\u0022 declines of insects and spiders in German grasslands and forests.Other recent research on insect decline includes a May report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that found human activity threatens one million plant and animal species with extinction as well as a study published last year about climate crisis-driven \u0026#039;bugpocalypse\u0026#039; in Puerto Rico\u0026#039;s Luquillo rainforest.