(NBC News) —The insects that keep the world running by pollinating plants and supporting food chains face grave risks, a new study has found. 

The combination of climate change and heavy agriculture is having a profound impact on the abundance and diversity of insects, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature

In areas where substantial warming has been documented and where land has been converted for intensive agriculture — meaning it involves monoculture or the use of pesticides — insects were nearly 50 percent less abundant, and more than a quarter fewer species could be found, the study said. 

The research builds on a body of work that has some scientists ringing alarms about the pace of the decline of insect populations. The researchers used data collected around the globe in 264 previously published biodiversity studies, which included nearly 18,000 species, including bees, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies. More than 750,000 data points are included in the study. 

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