The repercussions of insect extinction would be "catastrophic to say the least", according to the report, as insects have been at "the structural and functional base of numerous world's ecosystems since their rise ... nearly 400 million years ago". The study takes a look at 73 historical reports which have hinted at the death of insects around the world, finding that the mass of all insects on Earth is declining by 2.5% per year.
A recent review of scientific studies found that nearly half of the total insect species are experiencing a steep decline in population and a third are already extinct.
Lead author, Dr Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, told the BBC that this is primarily due to urbanisation, deforestation, and loss of habitat. One-third of insect species are classed as Endangered.
Many other studies in recent years have shown that individual species of insects, such as bees, have suffered huge declines, particularly in developed economies.
Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades.
Review author Francisco Sanchez-Bayo told The Guardian that if insect species loss can not be halted, it will also have catastrophic consequences for the survival of mankind.
A new study warns that insect populations around the world are falling dramatically. They estimated that 41% of insect species are in decline, 31% are threatened (in keeping with standards set by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature), and 10% are going regionally extinct.
While the focus in the past has been on the decline in vertebrate animal biodiversity, this study stressed the importance of insect life on interconnected ecosystems and the food chain.
"Climate change is one of the big reasons we have got to obviously start and tackle climate change properly, to tackle it and also reduce it". "It's quite plausible that we might end up with plagues of small numbers of pest insects, but we will lose all the wonderful ones that we want, like bees and hoverflies and butterflies and dung beetles that do a great job of disposing of animal waste". The heavy use of pesticides, climate change and invasive species were also pinpointed as significant causes.
They suggested overhauling existing agricultural methods, "in particular a serious reduction in pesticide usage and its substitution with more sustainable, ecologically-based practices".