01-25:New Studies Show Drops in World Insect Population
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01-25:New Studies Show Drops in World Insect Population

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The world's top insect experts say our planet's important insect population is going through a "death by a thousand cuts."
世界顶级昆虫专家说,我们地球上重要的昆虫种群正在经历“千人死亡”
A new group of studies suggests Earth is losing around 1 to 2 percent of its insects each year. The losses are blamed on climate change, pollution, agriculture, land use changes and chemicals.
一组新的研究表明,地球每年大约有1%到2%的昆虫在减少。损失归咎于气候变化、污染、农业、土地利用变化和化学品。
David Wagner of the University of Connecticut is the lead writer of the 12 studies, which recently appeared in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. The research involved 56 scientists from around the world.
康涅狄格大学的大卫·瓦格纳是这12项研究的主要作者,最近发表在《美国国家科学院院刊》上。来自世界各地的56位科学家参与了这项研究。
The problem, sometimes called the insect apocalypse, is a complex issue. Even scientists say they do not fully understand it. And the complexity of the issue makes it hard to get the public interested in possible solutions.
这个问题,有时被称为昆虫世界末日,是一个复杂的问题。甚至连科学家都说他们还没有完全理解它。这个问题的复杂性使得公众很难对可能的解决方案感兴趣。
Wagner said scientists need to find out if the levels of insect loss are bigger in comparison to other species. "There is some reason to worry more," he added, "because they [insects] are the target of attack" with insecticides, herbicides and light pollution.
瓦格纳说,科学家需要找出昆虫的损失程度是否比其他物种更大他补充说:“我们有理由更加担心,因为昆虫是杀虫剂、除草剂和光污染的攻击目标。”。
Insecticides and herbicides are special kinds of chemicals that can kill insects or plants.
杀虫剂和除草剂是一种特殊的化学物质,可以杀死昆虫或植物。
May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois helped lead the research. She compared the insect losses to climate change 30 years ago. She said back then, the methods used to measure the degree and rate of climate change effects were difficult.
伊利诺伊大学的May Berenbaum帮助领导了这项研究。她将昆虫损失与30年前的气候变化进行了比较。她说,当时,用来衡量气候变化影响程度和速度的方法很困难。
Berenbaum says another issue is that many people simply hate insects. She added that this is true even though the small creatures do a lot of good. They pollinate the world's foods, get rid of waste and play an important part in the food chain.
贝伦鲍姆说,另一个问题是,许多人只是讨厌昆虫。她补充说,这是事实,即使小动物做了很多好事。它们为世界上的食物授粉,清除废物,在食物链中扮演重要角色。
Insects are "the fabric by which Mother Nature and the tree of life are built," Wagner said.
瓦格纳说,昆虫是“构成大自然母亲和生命之树的织物”。
Fabric is a kind of woven or knitted material. The term can also mean the basic structure of something.
织物是一种机织或针织材料。这个词也可以指事物的基本结构。
Wagner said two famous insects, honeybees and Monarch butterflies, are good examples of the current problems insects face. Honeybees have been disappearing because of disease, parasites, insecticides, herbicides and lack of food.
瓦格纳说,蜜蜂和帝王蝶这两种著名的昆虫是目前昆虫面临问题的很好例子。由于疾病、寄生虫、杀虫剂、除草剂和缺乏食物,蜜蜂一直在消失。
Drier weather in the U.S. West, driven by climate change, means less milkweed for butterflies to eat, Wagner said. And changes in American agriculture remove weeds and flowers they need for nectar.
瓦格纳说,受气候变化的影响,美国西部的干旱天气意味着供蝴蝶食用的马利筋减少。美国农业的变化消除了花蜜所需的杂草和花朵。
"We're creating a giant biological desert except for soybeans and corn in a giant area of the Midwest," he said.
他说:“我们正在创造一个巨大的生物沙漠,除了中西部大片地区的大豆和玉米。”。
The recent scientific papers do not provide new data. They show a big but incomplete picture of a problem that is starting to get more attention. Scientists have identified 1 million insect species, while up to 4 million more are likely to be discovered, Berenbaum said.
最近的科学论文没有提供新的数据。他们展示了一个开始受到更多关注的问题的大而不完整的图景。贝伦鲍姆说,科学家们已经确认了100万种昆虫,同时还可能发现多达400万种昆虫。
Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware was not part of the studies. But he said the research demonstrates how the world has "spent the last 30 years spending billions of dollars finding new ways to kill insects and mere pennies working to preserve them."
特拉华大学的道格·塔勒米没有参与这项研究。但他说,这项研究表明,世界“在过去30年里花了数十亿美元寻找新的杀虫方法,而仅仅花了一分钱来保护昆虫。”
Pennies are a small amount of money.
便士是一小笔钱。
In an email to the Associated Press, Tallamy said the good news was that people themselves can do a lot to stop insect losses. "This is a global problem with a grassroots solution," he wrote.
塔勒米在给美联社的一封电子邮件中说,好消息是人们自己可以做很多事情来阻止昆虫的损失。”这是一个全球性的问题,需要草根解决,”他写道。
I'm John Russell.


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Words in This Story
apocalypse – n. a great disaster : a sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss, or destruction
species – n. a group of animals or plants that are similar and can produce young animals or plants
pollinate – v. to give (a plant) pollen from another plant of the same kind so that seeds will be produced food
chain – n. a series of types of living things in which each one uses the next lower member of the series as a source of food — usually used with the
parasite – n. an animal or plant that lives in or on another animal or plant and gets food or protection from it
nectar – n. a sweet liquid produced by plants and used by bees in making honey
preserve – v. to keep (something) in its original state or in good condition
grassroots – n. the ordinary people in a society or organization : the people who do not have a lot of money and power

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