Australia’s current bushfire crisis could wipe out some of our rarer insectspecies, according to a group of experts.

Associate Professor Michael Braby from The Australian National University(ANU) says the bushfires will have a huge impact on our native insects, aswell as the plants and animals that rely on them.

“Insects are critical for a healthy environment,” Associate Professor Brabysaid.

“They are food for many other animals, and contribute to processes likepollination, decomposition, nutrient cycling and soil aeration, which is vitalbecause if the flowers of certain plants are not pollinated they can no longerreproduce.

“Sadly, few insects have strategies to escape fire. This means most are killedin the event of a bushfire, and their recovery relies on recolonisation fromunburnt areas.”

Associate Professor Braby says the severity and extent of the current firesmeans insects would have few, in any, refuges for survival.

“Many species may well go extinct, especially rare species, or those withspecialised requirements, such as specific host plants.”

Associate Professor Braby is a member of the Australian EntomologicalSociety’s Conservation Committee.

The group of insect experts say human-induced climate change is the overridingfactor responsible for the unprecedented scale of these fire.

“More action needs to be taken at the national and international level toprevent further climate change,” Associate Professor Braby said.

“Surveys are also needed to determine the extent of loss, and plan therecovery of insect species after these fires.

“We’d also suggest the total area of protected habitat – like national parks –needs to increase in order to mitigate these losses.”

The Australian Entomological Society’s Conservation Committee aims to providethe best available scientific evidence on the conservation of insects andinvertebrates in Australia.

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