Seeing the Wood for the Trees - The Ecological Role of Insects in Forest Health?
Forests will always be a vital component in the Earth’s systems. Their global ecosystems service has been valued at £3 billion (UK) per annum and includes climate regulation, erosion control, nutrient cycling, waste treatment, food production, raw materials, and recreation. This exceeds the value of almost every other terrestrial biome. Damage to trees by other organisms is a natural part of ecosystem functioning, but it is argued that intensification of forest production is increasingly leading to compromises in forest health.
There are some 10 million species of insects in the world, although so far scientists have named only a million. Insects have had 350 million years of evolution to come up with solutions to problems we haven’t even considered yet, so it is unsurprising that they are formidable adversaries and often a source of major forest health problems.[MORE]