Grassland and forest insects are affected by surrounding agriculture

Photo Credit: Alan Emery

Recent science shows that we are losing many important insects at an alarming rate all across the globe. Intensification of agriculture, particularly the widespread use of insecticides and herbicides, causes declines in natural populations of important insects. A large-scale study published in Nature confirms that land use is driving major declines of insects in grasslands and forests, and the amount of agriculture in the overall landscape is associated with insect declines in nearby grasslands. But the declines found in forests show that open spaces are not the only ecosystems at risk. Farming practices that reduce the use of harmful chemicals and increase habitat to support many types of insects will reduce the overall effects of agricultural land on insect declines. USDA certified organic farmers are required to use practices that maintain and increase biodiversity. By transitioning more agricultural land to organic, insect populations could be increased instead of reduced.