What do we know about the significance of insects and insect decline?

What significance do insects have for the Earth’s ecosystems and food security? How can we prevent insect decline?

The significance of insects for Earth's ecosystems has been studied for a long time, and in recent years the subject of insect decline has also entered the conversation. Insect decline refers to both the extinction of certain insect species and the decline in the number of insects in general.

Now that the summer is almost here, insects are particularly topical. The library’s collections includes a lot of research that offers different perspectives on insects.

CAB Abstracts 

An international reference database that contains references from over 11,000 publications. You can find research on insects from the perspectives of forestry, agriculture and environmental sciences, among others. 

Zoological Record

An extensive zoological reference database that allows you to search for references from over 5,000 international research publications. This database is especially popular with the entomologists at University of Helsinki. A hierarchically organized thesaurus of about 6,000 terms makes it easy to find appropriate search terms.

The importance of insects

Insect biodiversity : science and society Vol I, 2017 

Insect biodiversity : science and society Vol II, 2018 

This work considers the effect insects have on humans and our planet’s ecosystems. Different case studies are used to assess how insect diversity can help the growing human population, and what worldwide consequences insect decline can have.

Advances in Genomics and Epigenomics of Social Insects, 2017 

Social insects, such as bees, ants, wasps and termites are one of Earth’s most successful and ecologically significant animal species. Understanding the genetic architecture and molecular evolution of social behavior has been a challenging task, but now the technological advances in genomics have made it possible to research the evolution of social behaviours in these insects.

Insektisidiruiskutusten vaikutuksista peltoympäristön pölyttäjiin : Pienpöly-hanke, 2021

Plant-Pollinator Interactions over 120 Years: Loss of Species, Co-Occurrence, and Function, 2013

The role of insects as pollinators and enablers of food security is significant. The most important food crops in the world are dependent on animal pollination. However, when occurring in large amounts, some insect species can interfere with crop yields. In these cases they are considered pests and comparable to plant diseases and weeds. Despite several precautions, the chemical control of pests often causes harm to pollinators. 

Ecology and prevention of Lyme borreliosis, 2016 

Lyme : the first epidemic of climate change, 2018 

No matter how much we would like to preserve the diversity of natural ecosystems, it is difficult to extend sympathy to insects that spread unpleasant diseases, such as ticks. Still, they too have their own important ecological niche.  

Insect decline 

Scientists' warning to humanity on insect extinctions, 2020  

Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers, 2019

Scientists are in constant debate over the causes and consequences of insect decline. Widely acknowledged causes for insect decline are habitat loss, pollution, climate change and the overexploitation of natural resources. The decline in biomass ja diversity of insects leads to loss of irreplaceable natural processes. Taking action to save insect species is essential, for both ecosystems and human survival. 

Do amateurs and citizen science fill the gaps left by scientists? 2021

Suomen ympäristökeskus SYKE on osallistanut kansalaisia kimalaisseurantaan

While academics have always been interested in insect diversity, it is only recently that such interest has started to reach the society at large. The involvement of non-academics in, for example, the collection of long scale monitoring data is growing and represents new opportunities for insect conservation. 

Opinion: Eight simple actions that individuals can take to save insects from global declines, 2021

Yle Luonto: Pelasta pörriäinen, 2020

These articles present practical steps we can all take to aid in the recovery of the insect population. Various campaigns and projects to help insects are underway around the world.