ABSTRACT

Rapidly expanding insect populations, deforestation and global climate change threaten to destabilize key planetary carbon pools, especially the Earth's forests, which link the micro-ecology of insect infestation to climate. To the extent mean temperature increases, insect populations accelerate deforestation. This alters climate via the loss of active carbon sequestration by live trees and increased carbon release from decomposing dead trees. A self-sustaining positive feedback loop can then emerge. Extensive field recordings demonstrate that bioacoustic communication plays a role in infestation dynamics and is likely to be a critical link in the feedback loop. These results open the way to novel detection and monitoring strategies and nontoxic control interventions.

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