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As humans multiply, bugs decline and conflict spikes

Published on Jul 25, 2014 6:52 AM
 
As the number of humans on Earth has nearly doubled over the past four decades, the number of bugs, slugs, worms and crustaceans has declined by 45 percent, researchers said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: ST FILES

WASHINGTON (AFP) - As the number of humans on Earth has nearly doubled over the past four decades, the number of bugs, slugs, worms and crustaceans has declined by 45 percent, researchers said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the larger loss of wildlife big and small across the planet may be a key driver of growing violence and unrest, said another study in the journal Science as part of a special series on disappearing animals.

Invertebrates - creatures without backbones - are important to the Earth because they pollinate crops, control pests, filter water and add nutrients to the soil.

Among animals with backbones that live on land, 322 species have disappeared in the past five centuries, and the remaining species show about a 25 per cent decline in abundance, said the findings.

 
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