“ BKP Sinha
Insects help break down organic material like corpses and animal droppings. This is important because it reuses nutrients, making them available to aerate the soil.
Rewilding is a progressive way to preserve the environment. It is a form of environmental conservation and ecological restoration that has significant potential to increase biodiversity, create self-sustaining environments and mitigate climate change.
There are two main approaches to rewilding: First, it allows degraded lands to regenerate by preventing anthropogenic influences and allowing nature to be conserved with minimal human interference. Second, to reintroduce lost or declining plant or animal species into their natural environment, allowing the restoration of their populations and ecological balance.
Rewilding does not only occur in protected areas or remote locations. You can see examples of this in many cities. Over the years, mining has caused rampant destruction in parts of the Aravalis, Gurugram, Haryana. An NGO led by Latika Thukral and her team has healed nearly 550 acres of land and converted it into the Aravali Biodiversity Park by planting thousands of saplings. Today, it is a repository of native flora and fauna, which also has a water conservation area, and is an educational space to raise awareness of environmental issues. Likewise, Delhi’s Yamuna Biodiversity Park is an example of successful restoration of arid lands.
Lake Kaikondanahalli, which is on the southeastern outskirts of Bangalore, has been severely polluted with sewage and solid waste. Following a press article, the company plans to restore this lake with the support of groups made up of local residents, experts in engineering, education, ecology, etc. A year after the restoration, over 50 species of birds and a wide variety of butterflies, snakes, and frogs began to appear. There has been a huge increase in animal and insect species since then. The regeneration of the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary in Rajasthan is also an example of the rebirth of a degraded ecosystem.
This article will briefly discuss the importance of restoring insect habitats, which are currently intact despite their enormous potential and biological contributions to restoring biodiversity in urban areas. The term “biodiversity” is used to describe the enormous variety of life on Earth. It refers to all species in a particular region or ecosystem that include plants, bacteria, animals, humans, and other living things.
Insects are essential for agriculture, human health and bioresources, as they play an important role in nutrient cycling, disperse seeds, pollinate plants, maintain soil structure, improve fertility and control population. other organizations. Insects are the base of the food chain, so their recovery is a prerequisite for the recovery of other species.
They provide various types of useful services which are described below:
Insects have significant amounts of nutrients needed by both humans and animals, such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fiber, minerals, etc. In South America, caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers and crickets are popular foods. About $ 500 million of canned silkworm pupae are exported from Thailand.
The process of pollination of many flowering plants and crops relies on animals, primarily insects. Animal-induced pollination is crucial for the production of the food we eat.
Predatory insects feed on pests that threaten crops, thus acting as pesticides without chemicals. This reduces pest control costs and increases crop yields, while reducing pesticide residues.
Insects also help break down organic matter such as fallen litter, corpses and animal droppings. This is important because it reuses nutrients, making them available for soil aeration.
Some plants produce fruits and seeds which are eaten and collected by ants. They bring these seeds to their nests to eat them and it is possible that some seeds fall off along the way and others hide in the ground. These seeds can germinate and establish plants in a new location. Therefore, ants play a crucial role in dispersing the fruits and seeds of plants. There are over 150 plant species that depend on insects to disperse.
Likewise, bees pollinate and help plants grow, reproduce, and produce food. To maintain the cycle of life, bees transfer pollen between flowering plants. Most of the foods we eat depend on pollination, especially by bees: like almonds, apples, squash, etc.
We also rely on insects for silk, dyeing, honey, wax, and medical and genetic research.
EO Wilson, a renowned biologist, once said: “If all of humanity were to disappear, the world would regenerate itself into the rich state of balance that existed ten thousand years ago.” If the bugs disappeared, the environment would crumble into chaos.
An ecosystem is based on the coexistence of species and communities with the environment. The rivet popper hypothesis was proposed by ecologist Paul Ehrlich to illustrate the consequences of species extinction on the ecosystem. He compares key species to airplane rivets and claims that if those rivets were gradually removed, the plane would crash too. Likewise, if key species are removed from an ecosystem, their absence will ultimately harm the ecosystem not immediately but in the long term.
There are many countries where the pollinators have disappeared and people are forced to hand pollinate apples, pears and passion fruit etc. Therefore, the loss of insects from the food chain would negatively impact the human food supply.
A recent study by experts found that mealworm larvae (indigenous to East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula) are able to break down plastic components by breaking them down at the molecular level. Researchers have found that larvae of the beetle from the order Coleoptera (Plesiophtophthal-musdavidis) can break down polystyrene, which was previously difficult to break down due to its unique molecular structure. Currently, there are more than 50 known species of plastivores, including the greater wax moth, offering hope to scientists seeking to reduce plastic pollution.
Thus, insects are a substantial part of our ecosystem, but the number and diversity of insects is declining due to habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Preserving and restoring the habitats that support insect diversity is essential to their conservation, otherwise many of these species will become extinct.
Therefore, every home, school and local park should dedicate a portion of its lawn to a natural habitat that would provide a suitable environment for insects. Pesticides and insecticides such as neonicotinoids should be banned in local vegetation and green spaces as they harm insect populations and impose development practices rich in nature. Additionally, artificial light at night can harm and kill many creatures, including amphibians, birds, insects, and plants. For example, most nocturnal insects are attracted to artificial lights which indirectly kill insects through exhaustion or predation before dawn. Therefore, protecting the night sky will be beneficial for insect populations. Growing native plants provides more benefits to native insects due to their close ecological relationships. Many insect species depend on these plants for food and nesting sites and become prey for birds and other wildlife, so native plants indirectly attract many vertebrates. Insect conservation can greatly benefit from insect-friendly environmental policies and political advocacy. Therefore, we have many ways to conserve insects, and we can use some or all of them to slow down the decline of insects.
Protecting and preserving the world from insects is imperative for a prosperous future.
(The author is a former IFS official. The opinions expressed are personal.)