Scientists are extremely worried about the devastating effects of climate change, pointing out that the acceleration of global warming and constant emissions of greenhouse gases will have devastating consequences on many species residing our planet.
The most affected insects, so far, seem to be butterflies and bees, the priceless pollinators, whose decline in population could affect millions of dollars worth of crops. The number of bees has already been reduced by almost 40 percent and, as far as butterflies are concerned, it was reported that about 75 percent of them are threatened to become extinct.
A new study conducted by a team of British scientists revealed that, if climate change continues at the same rate, about six species of butterflies will disappear from the UK within the next four decades.
After analyzing the way various species of butterflies have been affected by the most severe drought, recorded in 1995, during the hottest summer since 1776, they realized that some species are extremely sensitive to high temperatures.
They looked at weather conditions now and simulated how these will affect butterflies until 2100. They realized that if global warming continues at the same pace, species such as the Speckled Wood, the Ringlet and the Large Skipper won’t make it by 2050. The other species that might perish are the carbon white butterflies, the green-veined white and the cabbage white.
“Widespread, drought-sensitive butterfly population extinction could occur as early as 2050. (..)The results are worrying. Until I started this research, I hadn’t quite realised the magnitude and potential impacts from climate change. To limit these losses, both habitat restoration and reducing CO2 emissions have a role. In fact, a combination of both is necessary,” ” the researchers wrote.
In order to carry out this study, they took into account 28 species from 129 sites.
Other countries are facing the same problem, because climate change affects insects in other parts of the world as well. In addition to that, other species of insects and birds are affected, both by extreme weather and because the food cycle might be interrupted.
This is why it is of utmost importance for humans to put an end to the destruction of the natural habitats that these species so much depend on. It is also necessary for us to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas that is released in the atmosphere and do our best to protect the endangered insects, animals and plants.
The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Image Source: butterfly-conservation