THE “inspirational work” to promote biodiversity at a nature reserve between York and Selby is a blueprint for everyone to follow.

According to leading entomologist Prof Dave Goulson, work done at Three Hagges, a 25-acre woodmeadow just south of Escrick by the A19, is essential.

Entomologists are people who study insects, and Prof Goulson, who was giving a major ecological lecture in York, warned that the whole planet is at risk if we don’t protect bugs.

He said: “The truth is that we cannot live without our insects. Tiny as they are, they do most of the heavy lifting of planetary care. They pollinate, break down waste and provide food for us and countless other species. If they vanished tomorrow, the apocalypse would begin the next day.”

“That is why ground-breaking projects like Three Hagges, where a 25-acre barley field has been transformed into a haven for all kinds of flowers and wildlife, are so important. They offer hope for the future by creating biodiversity hotspots to help us look after nature, rather than destroying it.

“Make no mistake about it, we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event, with extinctions occurring faster than at any time in the last 65 million years. ‘Bioabundance’ is in decline, with recent studies showing that insects, in particular, are disappearing fast.

“Believe it or not, I am an optimist by nature. But if this extinction continues, it will have profound consequences for mankind and our planet."

Prof Goulson, who is a biology professor at the University of Sussex and has recently written the best-selling book Silent Earth, said that it was up to all of us to try to tackle this crisis.

Prof Goulson specialises in bee ecology. He has published more than 290 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects.