Declines in larger, easily observed animals are widely recognised, but what of those groups that are harder to study? Insects play a vital role in the functioning of ecosystems, and yet very little is known about their long-term population trends. Worryingly, the evidence that does exist suggests that there may be catastrophic declines happening without us even realising. Dave Goulson explains why this is one problem that we cannot afford to ignore.
It is no secret that wildlife is in decline, at both a national and a global level. In the UK, well monitored groups such as butterflies and birds have been decreasing in numbers since detailed recording began, in the 1970s, and probably for long before that.