Recently a very alarming report came out about the state of the world’s insects. Over the past decade 41% of insects have disappeared. That’s nearly a half! https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/10/plummeting-insect-numbers-threaten-collapse-of-nature
Think about that for a bit, and its implications. All the myriad of birds, animals and other organisms that are inter-dependent on insects to support food webs. Oh, and humans – no insects means no pollination, which means most of our fruit and vegetables don’t exist. Half in ten years! That’s heading for rapid extinction in a human generation.
The causes? Principally agricultural practices and climate change. A lot of emphasis in the report was put on the need for widespread sustainable farming practices, especially organic – and that consumers should support this by buying organic produce.
|Bumblebee on Phacelia at Scilly Organics|
Here on the farm at St Martin’s I’m pleased to say we have high levels of insect activity. A lot of the farm is left for wild flowers, which attract insects throughout the spring, summer and autumn. You even see some activity on mild winter days.
We also grow lots of green manures, including the wonderful Phacelia, seen above adorned with bees. These crops not only provide a great habitat for insects, they also improve the soil and reduce levels of weeds.
Taking a whole farm approach to improving biodiversity is critical, but it too often focuses on the top down approach – i.e. mammals and birds down. We would do well to reverse that and think of plants and insects first instead. The scary report is a stark reminder of that.