Improve our knowledge

No Insectinction – how to solve the insect declines crisis

Friendlier relationships with insects

Improve our knowledge

Knowledge is key to people being able to take effective action to protect and sustain insect populations. Insects are a highly diverse group that is subject to variable levels of recording, monitoring and popularity. Some have national recording schemes and are served by good species identification resources (e.g. butterflies, moths, hoverflies, bumblebees). But many key insect groups are not well recorded or monitored and identification resources are either unavailable or difficult to use. The design of monitoring schemes is critical to the type and quality of data collected, and the right sort of monitoring will provide sound information for gauging how insects are faring, and/or determining what we can do to protect and enhance their populations. We must keep track of insect populations, just as we would track any other key environmental or economic asset.

We know that habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and climate change are major factors working in conjunction to cause declines. However, there remain significant gaps in knowledge and understanding about what aspects of these factors are most significant and which habitats and habitat features are crucial for maintaining and restoring insect populations. In addition the impacts of emerging factors such as imported diseases, invasive species and 5G radiation are poorly understood. A better understanding of insect ecology and the causes of decline will enable the design and implementation of conservation measures.

While general improvements to the room we provide for insects to thrive, and the safety of this space, will help most species, there are many specific interventions required – for instance, providing particular habitat requirements, such as continuity of the right types of dead wood for internationally threatened beetles that survive on a handful of refuges. We have to foster an understanding relationship with the species we have pushed to the edge and make sure that we are looking after them.

The fate of species is the bottom line of nature conservation – their status is the tell-tale for how well we are looking after our land and water.

We can stop, and reverse the global declines in our insects, but only if everyone pulls together to do their bit.

Small steps can have a huge impact if they all fall at the same time Five things you can do to reverse insect declines

Torrentis (c) Matt Eastham

What has to happen?

  • More investment is needed in the basics – taxonomy and DNA work can define new species and enable them to be easily identified, while ecological research can help us understand how to conserve them.
  • More funding is required for monitoring schemes for pollinators (particularly PoMS, the national Pollinator Monitoring Scheme), riverflies and other invertebrate groups, so that they can provide the information required for us to know whether our actions are making a difference.
  • Long-term investment into independent science must be increased so that the causes of decline in individual species, and the loss of bioabundance in different circumstances, can be thoroughly investigated.
  • Conservation status reviews should be completed for all insect groups and reviewed regularly.
  • An international conference, involving leading scientists and decision makers, must be convened to exchange and spread knowledge about solving the insect decline crisis.

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We can solve the insectinction crisis, but we need to act quickly, and we need your help. Please help us to be the voice for insects, so we can fight for a wildlife filled planet for future generations.

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