Edible Forest Insects To Human Nutrition Biology Essay


The global cycle is based on the consumption and production, which gives rise to diversity. (1) The interaction of population in nature influence diversity. (2) An ecosystem consists of living, nonliving, physical components that interact with our environment. There are wide range of vegetations, flora and fauna that have their function in biodiversity. Any change in the environment of species will cause a great change in ecosystem. (3) In our ecosystems insect plays important role influencing multiple trophic levels. There is a wide range of classification and diversity of insects (21). They are found in large number, everywhere. There are still billions of species of insects still hiding from the human population. (1) They play a major part of terrestrial diversity and ecological evolution due to their long diversification time. (4) Their efforts in distribution of diversity of plants and animals in conservation have been highly recognised. They are vastly present as decomposers, herbivores or predators. (1) Insects can withstand any temperature as they have the ability to tend to the environment and climatic change (2). They can grow in any condition, inside water, over the surface of water, inside mud and many places. Because of their small size they are easily outside of human approach. Their ability of reciprocating to the high temperature is due to interaction to the environment and successive generation. (5) Like some of the arthropods exhibited there impact on nutrient cycling (3).

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They serve as food or host for the plants or non insect animals. As seen, insects have the capability to degrade the waste, they help in nutrient cycle. They remove waste products and dead organisms by consuming and recycling the dead. Some insects are seen to be fed by animals and some insects they feed on plants and animals. They play both the role of herbivore and carnivore. They produce products such as honey, Cochineal, wax and silk, as a source of dye, and in some cultures as foods and medicines. They even produce some of the by-products such as honeydew, frass and cadavers. They facilitate pollination; aerate the soil, seed dispersal dung removal, and pest control and microhabitat development. They provide high income based on their trade. As they are easily farmed they are used for living hood of the poor's. Managing the farm, cultivating and farming of the insects increase the breeding. This provides employment for local rural people. (6)

Nowadays as there is depletion in food quantity and distribution all over the world there are huge numbers of population depending on insects as there food source. Some of the insect species serve as edible food. Like Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (butterfly and moths), Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets), Isoptera (termites), Hemiptera (true bugs), and Homoptera (cicadas). (9).Insects serve as good food as they are excellent source of protein, fats and micronutrients, amino acid. Insects are cold blooded; they have a high food conversion rate. Edible insects play a vital role in biodiversity conservation by providing high live-stock to feed the over growing population. Due to such crisis there is been limited sources of land and environmental degradation. (5).World over all population is below poverty line. They cannot afford nutritional food as it cost too much. For such population who cannot afford beef they can afford protein-rich insects. (11)

At least 527 different insects are eaten across 36 countries in Africa, while insects are also eaten in 29 countries in Asia and 23 in the Americas. They are rich Source of protein, vitamins and minerals. (12) Some of the insects are having more nutritional content than fish and beef. In forests and houses they are harvested and sell to the markets. They are eaten as snacks and treat in many places. In some places it is called as nostalgia food, which brings back fond memories of the homeland. Overexploitation of edible insects can possess minimal impact on the environmental population as there is no regulation over the use and they are easily harvested. (13). Domestication of insects such as silkworms and bees is a new approach for resource and forest management. (14)

Grasshoppers that serve as a traditional food can be use instead of pesticides in agriculture. It will be useful in reducing the pesticides that has side effects on the crops, by their excrement and by changing the abundance of and the decomposition rate of plant litter. Silk moth larvae and pupae are used for food can be use for fabric. These increase the productivity and income. Honey bee brood is used for food can be use as a sweetener. Honey as a natural product contains many medicinal property. Palm weevils and fly larvae are used as processor to reduce organic pollution by recycling agriculture and forestry wastes into food or feed. Caterpillars are rich in different minerals (e.g. K, Ca, Mg, Zn, P, Fe) and/or vitamins (e.g. thiamine/B1,

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riboflavin/B2, pyridoxine/B6, pantothenic acid, niacin) that makes it industrially beneficial.

By increasing the production of harvesting there is likely to be increase in the protein production which increases the gross income. These provide increase on global benefits. Edible insects play a dual role. They help in degrading the cadavers as well as produce less methane gas which helps in reduction of green house gas. These insects can even grow in organic matter. These prove to be supplement for their growth and helps in degradation of the organic matters. It helps poor as harvesting of the insect in any condition is easy as they tend to adapt themselves in any environmental condition. (16). Edible Insects are rich in nutrition. They contain more protein than fish and meat. As they are cultivated on any matter they are easily available for the poor people who cannot afford meat, fish and beef. (11) Insects are useful in medicine in a huge way. Edible insects were used in ancient times for wound stitching and healing as there were no equipments. Some of the ants of genera Atta were used for such purposes. Rurally Farmers are grinding edible insects for feeding animals, as it provides nutritional supplement. (17) These insects have the ability to develop large population with high reproductive ability and short life cycle that makes them to adapt any habitat. (21) Insects play an important part of the food chain that retains important nutrients in the stream. (23)

Edible insects are having some impacts on the forests vegetation. These insects feed on the tree leaves or other parts. These affect the health of the tree and also have impact on the forest ecosystem. (19). Population cannot stay in a place as insects and the movements of population causes changes in the environment which have an important effect on the spread of disease. (24) Some of the herbivorous insects cause competitively change in the distribution of plants. It increases the abundance of invading trees and rate of succession and cause changes in soil microclimate that can alter cycling of nutrients. Reduction in shoot and root growth, decrease in seed production and weight and Delay in seed ripening are some of the impact on the forest vegetation. Even they exploit human resource by feeding on them. Like they feed on natural fibres, destroy wooden building materials, ruin stored grain. They consume more food than human unintended. (18). Insects undergo metamorphosis. Sometimes immature metamorphosis effects the environment as they don't develop as proper adults. These may cause exploitation of the environment. Insects are having low rate of extinction which makes them live longer. They evolve new traits which are highly resistance towards pesticides and insecticides. (20) Environment has high effect on the insect's physiology such as mating. Problem comes when there is outbreak of insects. Humans have to keep a tract of insect's population to maintain a balance in nature. (21) As they get adapt to the environment actively some of the insects population doesn't show migration. (22).


Insects play a vital role in ecosystem and distribution of biodiversity. For Conservation of certain species there has been a disturbance in their habitat and require reduced species diversity. Different insect species are part of the diets. For Edible insects have been recognised natural food source and maintaining their population and determining their community is important. Insects influences plant species richness, primary productivity and ecosystem processes. Herbivory by insects plays a major role in influencing plant competitive interactions creating opportunities for less competitive non-host species. Insect's extinction is because of habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, overpopulation and the threat of global climatic changes. (25). It also alters nutrient cycling rates and increases primary productivity. Some species they restrict the growth of the unwanted plants by growing on them and they reduce the competition among plants making it more productive. (14) They alter the some of the insects have mutually-influencing factors on both human and ecosystem. Insects they live for years and evolve new traits that make them resistance towards pesticides and insecticides which is a harmful issue. The degradation of forests habitat and overexploitation of the insects causes imbalance in food management and its regulation. Some of the population are affected due to the logging in small streams. (23)

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In this natural world insects are all around us, and they are affected by the change in environment. (24). Edible insects and their trade make a significant contribution to the livelihoods of the poorest. Certain species of edible insects are consumed more than the others (15). Insects are forever because of their low rate of extinction. They came before human and they will live aft human. The extinction of such species will affect the biosphere. Edible insects are grown in any condition that makes them useful for the live stocks industries for food production. They are grown in such places where there is no use of pesticides that makes them cleaning up the pests and consuming organic matters. The world's Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

are managing the harvesting and regulation of the insects. (16). Demands of edible insects such as caterpillars and worms are high as they exhibit dual benefits providing benefits for both human and ecosystem. These are exploited by the degradation of forests. As they provide feed for other animals and birds, the decrease in their numbers will directly affect the food stocks of the predators. (15) On the statistical analysis the population of the insects are twice than the human, animal, and plant population. These make them superior of all life chains. This world is a place of insects; they have been ruling it from the time of first life form evolved.

"The world is a wild place, and humanity is an unwelcome intruder"