Protecting the most important areas for insects

No Insectinction – how to solve the insect declines crisis

Room for insects to thrive

Protecting the most important areas for insects

Many of our most threatened insects are only found in a small number of places. These places are often remnants of once widespread wildlife-rich habitats such as flower-rich grassland, ancient woodlands, dunes, heathlands and wetlands. Yet agricultural intensification, and the pressure for new development, means that we are continuing to lose these irreplaceable wildlife refuges at an alarming rate.

The current suite of protected areas in the UK includes many sites that are important for insects; however, equally important areas receive no protection and continue to be damaged and destroyed by urbanisation, changing agricultural and land management practices, environmental pollution, invasive non-native species, and many other factors.

The most important places must be identified and recognised – given formal protection to prevent their loss, or damage. It is vitally important that these places, and the special species that call them home, are protected from harm and managed in the right way to protect and enhance their wildlife riches.

The most important places for insects either support nationally or globally important populations of species of conservation concern; exhibit exceptional species richness; are home to a particularly rare or restricted (e.g. highly specialised) invertebrate assemblage; or feature an exceptional example of a habitat of national or global importance to invertebrate conservation.

Working with the leading experts and other conservation charities, good progress has been made to identify the UK’s Important Invertebrate Areas that must be given protection from development and other land-use changes. However, we don’t want more ‘paper parks’ – Important Invertebrate Areas must be appropriately protected, and time and effort invested into ensuring they are safe and well-managed.

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

What has to happen?

  • Remaining areas of wildlife-rich habitat and existing High Nature Value agriculture must be managed to protect and enhance their invertebrate wildlife.
  • Protected areas for insects must be restored, managed and monitored to achieve and maintain them, and the species that live there, in favourable condition.
  • The best remaining wildlife sites must be properly protected and managed in the right way to sustain their wildlife interest.
  • The most important refuges for invertebrates must be added to the current suite of protected sites.
  • Local plans must direct development away from Important Invertebrate Areas.

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