In-depth analysis calls into question recent results relativizing insect decline

February 18, 2021 Debate

Contrary to previous publications alerting on the sharp decline in insect communities worldwide, van Klink et al. concluded in the journal Science in April 2020 that there was a more nuanced decline in the abundance of terrestrial insects and an increase in the abundance of freshwater insects. Their paper, based on a compilation of time series of abundance and biomass data of insect communities, was widely reported in the international press. A multidisciplinary consortium1 including researchers from the French universities of Toulouse 1 and 3, Montpellier and Rennes, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest of Brussels and the university of UCLouvain in Belgium, and the university of Sussex in the United Kingdom, detected numerous errors and multiple biases in this meta-analysis and demonstrated, in a commentary published in Science on December 18th, 2020, that these biases invalidate the conclusions of van Klink and his co-authors.

This work was coordinated by two researchers: Marion Desquilbet from the Toulouse School of Economics (INRAE/CNRS/EHESS/University of Toulouse 1 Capitole) and Laurence Gaume-Vial from the AMAP laboratory - Botany and Modelling of Plant and Vegetation Architecture (CNRS/CIRAD/INRAE/IRD/University of Montpellier)

Extract from the CNRS Press Release