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Credit: van Klink et al., Science [2020]

A comprehensive new assessment of insect diversity finds that while the overall population of land-dwelling insects has fallen by more than a quarter over the past 30 years, some species are increasing in numbers.

Why it matters: A raft of studies in recent years have raised alarms about an "insect apocalypse." The new assessment offers some room for hope, while making it clear that insects and arachnid populations are still under tremendous pressure.

The new meta-analysis, published in this week's Science, examined 166 long-term surveys of land-dwelling and freshwater insect populations across the globe.

  • Insects that live on land are struggling, declining by an average of 9% a decade, likely due in part to the spread of human populations. That's still a smaller decline than many earlier studies had found.
  • Freshwater insect populations appear to be increasing by an average of 11% per decade, which may be due to successful efforts to clean up rivers and lakes.
  • Insect declines are worse in North America, and especially the Midwest, but appear to be leveling off.
"Insect populations are like logs of wood that are pushed under water. They want to come up, while we keep pushing them farther down. But we can reduce the pressure so they can rise again."
— Roel van Klink, lead researcher on the Science study, to CNN

The bottom line: Insects are an invaluable part of the Earth's ecosystem and food web. Their future is tied into ours — and vice versa.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.