Strategic national approach for improving the conservation management of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia

Gary S. Taylor, Michael F. Braby, Melinda L. Moir, Mark S. Harvey, Don P.A. Sands, Tim R. New, Roger L. Kitching, Peter B. McQuillan, Katja Hogendoorn, Richard V. Glatz, Mick Andren, James M. Cook, Shasta C. Henry, Isabel Valenzuela, Phil Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite progress in recent decades, the conservation management of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia is challenging and remains a formidable task against a background of poor taxonomic and biological knowledge, limited resources (funds and scientific expertise) and a relatively low level of community engagement, education and awareness. In this review, we propose a new, strategic national approach for the conservation of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia to complement and build on existing actions and increase awareness with the general public and government. A review of all species listed under relevant State and Territory Acts, national legislation (EPBC Act) and on international lists (IUCN Red List) indicated that of the 285 species currently listed under these conservation schedules, 10 (3%) are considered extinct, 204 (72%) threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) and 71 (25%) are classified as other (Threatened, Near Threatened, Rare or Least Concern). Comparison of the geographic ranges of listed species in relation to bioregions (IBRA regions) shows a striking discordance in spatial representation across the Australian landscape, reflecting an ad hoc approach to threatened species conservation and the concentration of invertebrate biologists in urban centres of temperate coastal Australia. There is a positive relationship between the number of threatened species and extent of protection according to the National Reserve System within each IBRA region, exemplifying the anomaly in spatial representativeness of listed species. To overcome these shortfalls, we propose a novel educational, regional approach based on selecting, for each of the 89 IBRA regions, a relatively small set of ‘flagship taxa’ (threatened species and/or ‘iconic’ species of high scientific/social value), which are then promoted and/or nominated for listing by the scientific community. Such species could be adopted by local community groups whereby a community-based regional approach would ensure spatial representativeness of insect conservation across the entire Australian continent. This novel approach may ultimately provide a better strategy for the conservation management of habitats and threatened ecological communities, reducing extinction risk of threatened species and addressing key threatening processes. Members of the Australian entomological community are strongly encouraged to nominate candidate taxa as flagship species for wider promotion and/or listing nationally under the EPBC Act.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-149
Number of pages26
JournalAustral Entomology
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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    Taylor, G. S., Braby, M. F., Moir, M. L., Harvey, M. S., Sands, D. P. A., New, T. R., Kitching, R. L., McQuillan, P. B., Hogendoorn, K., Glatz, R. V., Andren, M., Cook, J. M., Henry, S. C., Valenzuela, I., & Weinstein, P. (2018). Strategic national approach for improving the conservation management of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia. Austral Entomology, 57(2), 124-149. https://doi.org/10.1111/aen.12343