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


Taylor, GS and Braby, MF and Moir, ML and Harvey, MS and Sands, DPA and New, TR and Kitching, RL and McQuillan, PB and Hogendoorn, K and Glatz, RV and Andren, M and Cook, JM and Henry, SC and Valenzuela, I and Weinstein, P, Strategic national approach for improving the conservation management of insects and allied invertebrates in Australia, Austral Entomology, 57, (2) pp. 124-149. ISSN 2052-174X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 Australian Entomological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/aen.12343


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bioregion, community engagement, EPBC Act, flagship species, IBRA region, insect conservation, IUCN Red List, key threatening process, legislation, threatened species
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:McQuillan, PB (Mr Peter McQuillan)
UTAS Author:Henry, SC (Ms Shasta Henry)
ID Code:150939
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2022-07-06
Last Modified:2022-08-11

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