Rate Of Extinctions Accelerating

May 24, 2019

Editor: Earlier this month, the United Nations released its Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecological Services, a report on the state of the world’s biodiversity co-authored by hundreds of experts from around the world. The rate of species extinctions is accelerating, according to the report, and among the most severely threatened species are birds, bats, insects, and soil microbes that perform important ecological services for food production and overall environmental health. These species help to control pests and diseases, pollinate plants, keep soils fertile, purify air and water, keep fish and trees health, and fight livestock pests and diseases. Pennsylvania is in no hurry to reverse the trend, for the Commonwealth recently announced its pesticide spraying schedule for 2019, beginning with the “Black Fly Suppression Program” which entails the aerial spraying over 48 rivers and streams spanning 1,700 miles in April and May, followed by Department Of Environmental Protection’s “Mosquito-Borne Disease Control Program” which, based on previous years, will involve weekly rounds of aerial spraying for mosquitoes over hundreds of square miles in Pennsylvania beginning in July and continuing into the fall, and, new this year, the Department of Agriculture’s “Spotted Lanternfly Eradication Program,” which consists of treating trees with a biological insecticide on an “as needed” basis. Along with the black flies, the mosquitoes, and the lanternflies, many beneficial insects and other species that perform essential ecological services will die, decline, or lose their ability to reproduce as a result of these extermination programs, further accelerating the loss of biodiversity locally and around the world. Juliet Perrin ALBRIGHTSVILLE

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