The value of insects

26 February 2014 by Christopher Buddle, posted in Insects

A couple of days ago the blog "Montreal Ecosystems at your Service" posted an amazing video called The Way We See Insects, done by PhD student Dorothy Maguire.

Dorothy effectively illustrates why insects are important to us, and provide key ecosystem services for humans, including but not limited to:

a) Pollination: an estimated 35% of global food production depends on pollination services, done by insects

b) Pest control: insect provide a key service by feeding upon key pests, either as introduced biological control agents, or as native natural enemies in our fields and forests.

c) Herbivory: Insects feed on plants, which in turn can stimulate plant growth, and can also help create gaps in our forests; these gaps allow other species to flourish. This helps create diverse and wonderful forests, valued by us.

d) Food: insects are an essential food source for wildlife and humans. In some cultures, 5-10% of dietary protein is provided by insects

e) Goods: insects manufacture high value products such as silk and honey

f) Waste recycling: insects decompose waste, and thus provide a key service by dealing with the dung, and facilitating seed transport in the process.

In the video, below, Dorothy mentions that in the USA, insects have an 'economic value' of somewhere around $57 billion. As such, we must love these animals, and conserve their habitat.

Here's the video:


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