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Insects are the best example of biodiversity.
They represent the third of the living species and scientists discover new specie every day.
One group in particular has survived through many geological events : the insects.
While climate was changing regularly, they were able to adjust and develop.
Today, it is the human’s impact that is presenting a threat to insects.
With Philippe Le Gall, entomologist from IRD, we try to understand how, in this area of Cameroun mountains, the living is always in motion...
The coleoptera group accounts for about 350,000 species which is about a fourth of the total known species of one million.
Using the insects and their major biodiversity, availability and size, scientists have now a fundamental model that they can use for their research.
In order to deal with the current biodiversity crisis, the policy and scientific choices made over the past 20 years have led to the development of global assessment, management and conservation tools for living organisms. Such
standardisation of environmental policies and instruments tends to marginalise cultivated tropical ecosystems and their related practices. This state of affairs was criticised by a multi-disciplinary team of the IRD and its partners(
1) in the Conservation Letters
journal, based on work conducted in Laos and Madagascar.
The researchers demonstrated how the standardisation of conservation methods leads to a decline in species diversity and local knowledge. Agroecosystems( 2), which are reservoirs of biodiversity and account for 30% of the earth's surface, should receive far more attention from international programmes.
The glaciers in the tropical Andes shrunk between 30 and 50% in 30 years, which represents the highest rate observed over the last three centuries. IRD researchers and their partners( 1) recently published a summary which chronicles the history of these glaciers since their maximum extension, reached between 1650 and 1730 of our era, in the middle of the Little Ice Age*. The faster melting is due to the rapid climate change which has occurred in the tropics since the 1950s, and in particular since the end of the 1970s, leading to an average temperature rise of 0.7°C in this part of the Andes. At the current pace of their retreat, small glaciers could disappear within the next 10 to 15 years, affecting water supply for the populations.