Where to Next? The Future of Insect Conservation

  • Alan J. A. Stewart


It is a brave, but possibly foolish, person who thinks they can predict the future with any confidence. The American businessman and writer Peter F. Drucker once suggested that ‘trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window’. Nevertheless, attempting to foresee problems in order to prepare for them and deal better with their consequences is good discipline for any applied science, but perhaps especially for nature conservation given that it is so dependent upon extraneous influences. This is borne out by the current emphasis on ‘horizon scanning’ for future environmental and conservation issues (Sutherland et al. 2009, 2010).


Habitat Patch Invasive Alien Species Insect Group Climate Envelope Deliberate Introduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Asher J, Warren MS, Fox R, Harding P, Jeffcoate G, Jeffcoate S (2001) The millennium atlas of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Biesmeijer JC, Roberts SPM, Reemer M, Ohlemuller R, Edwards M, Peeters T, Schaffers AP, Potts SG, Kleukers R, Thomas CD, Settele J, Kunin WE (2006) Parallel declines in pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands. Science 313:351–354PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Both C, van Asch M, Bijlsma RG, van den Burg AB, Visser ME (2009) Climate change and unequal phenological changes across four trophic levels: constraints or adaptations? J Anim Ecol 78:73–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown PMJ, Roy HE, Rothery P, Roy DB, Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2008) Harmonia axyridis in Great Britain: analysis of the spread and distribution of a non-native coccinellid. Biocontrol 53:55–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheesman OD, Key RS (2007) The extinction of experience: a threat to insect conservation? In: Stewart AJA, New TR, Lewis OT (eds) Insect conservation biology. CABI, Wallingford, pp 322–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christian CE (2001) Consequences of a biological invasion reveal the importance of mutualism for plant communities. Nature 413:635–639PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Conrad KF, Warren MS, Fox R, Parsons MS, Woiwod IP (2006) Rapid declines of common, widespread British moths provide evidence of an insect biodiversity crisis. Biol Conserv 132:279–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fleishman E, Murphy DD (2009) A realistic assessment of the indicator potential of butterflies and other charismatic taxonomic groups. Conserv Biol 23:1109–1116PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Forup ML, Henson KSE, Craze PG, Memmott J (2008) The restoration of ecological interactions: plant–pollinaor networks on ancient and restored healthlands. J Appli Ecol 45:742–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forup ML, Memmott J (2005) The relationship between the abundances of bumblebees and honeybees in a native habitat. Ecol Entomol 30:47–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Foster GN, Eyre MD (1992) Classification and ranking of water beetle communities. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, PeterboroughGoogle Scholar
  12. Fowles AP, Alexander KNA, Key RS (1999) The Saproxylic Quality Index: evaluating wooded habitats for the conservation of dead-wood Coleoptera. Coleopterist 8:121–141Google Scholar
  13. Fox R, Asher J, Brereton T, Roy DB, Warren MS (2006) The state of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Pisces, NewburyGoogle Scholar
  14. Fry R, Lonsdale D (eds) (1991) Habitat conservation for insects – a neglected green issue. Amateur Entomologists’ Society, MiddlesexGoogle Scholar
  15. Geiger R (1955) The climate near the ground. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  16. Ghazoul J (2005) Buzziness as usual? Questioning the global pollination crisis. Trends Ecol Evol 20:367–373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gilbert-Norton L, Wilson R, Stevens JR, Beard KH (2010) A meta-analytic review of corridor effectiveness. Conserv Biol 24:660–668PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goulson D (2003) Effects of introduced bees on native ecosystems. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 34:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goulson D (2010) Bumblebees. In: Maclean N (ed) Silent summer: the state of wildlife in Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 415–429Google Scholar
  20. Goulson D, Sparrow KR (2009) Evidence for competition between honeybees and bumblebees; effects on bumblebee worker size. J Insect Conserv 13:177–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hambler C, Speight MR (2004) Extinction rates and butterflies. Nature 305:1563Google Scholar
  22. Henson KSE, Craze PG, Memmott J (2009) The restoration of parasites, parasitoids, and pathogens to heathland communities. Ecology 90:1840–1851PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hickling R, Roy DB, Hill JK, Thomas CD (2005) A northward shift of range margins in British Odonata. Global Change Biol 11:502–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hickling R, Roy DB, Hill JK, Fox R, Thomas CD (2006) The distributions of a wide range of taxonomic groups are expanding polewards. Global Change Biol 12:450–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hill JK, Thomas CD, Fox R, Telfer MG, Willis SG, Asher J, Huntley B (2002) Responses of butterflies to twentieth century climate warming: implications for future ranges. Proc R Soc London B 269:2163–2171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoegh-Guldberg O, Hughes L, McIntyre S, Lindenmayer DB, Parmesan C, Possingham HP, Thomas CD (2008) Assisted colonization and rapid climate change. Science 321:345–346PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Invertebrate Link (JCCBI) (2010) Invertebrate translocation – a code of conservation practice. Br J Entomol Nat Hist 23:207–217Google Scholar
  28. JCCBI (Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Insects) (1986) Insect re-establishment – a code of conservation practice. Antenna 10:13–18Google Scholar
  29. Kirby P (1992) Habitat management for invertebrates. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, SandyGoogle Scholar
  30. Koch RL (2003) The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis: a review of its biology, uses in biological control, and non-target impacts. J Insect Sci 3(32):1–16Google Scholar
  31. Lach L (2008) Argentine ants displace floral arthropods in a biodiversity hotspot. Divers Distrib 14:281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lawton JH, Brotherton PNM, Brown VK, Elphick C, Fitter AH, Forshaw J, Haddow RW, Hilborne S, Leafe RN, Mace GM, Southgate MP, Sutherland WJ, Tew TE, Varley J, Wynne GR (2010) Making space for nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network. Report to DefraGoogle Scholar
  33. Link I (2002) A code of conduct for collecting insects and other invertebrates. Br J Entomol Nat Hist 15:1–6Google Scholar
  34. Maclean N (ed) (2010) Silent summer: the state of wildlife in Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Masters GJ, Smithers P, Cheesman OD (2007) Taking entomology to a wider audience: who will watch the small things that run the world? Antenna 31:87–111 (series of articles)Google Scholar
  36. McGeoch MA (1998) The selection, testing and application of terrestrial insects as bioindicators. Biol Rev 73:181–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Memmott J, Craze PG, Waser NM, Price MV (2007) Global warming and the disruption of plant-pollinator interactions. Ecol Lett 10:710–717PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Merrill RM, Gutierrez D, Lewis OT, Gutierrez J, Diez SB, Wilson RJ (2008) Combined effects of climate and biotic interactions on the elevational range of a phytophagous insect. J Anim Ecol 77:145–155PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morris R (2010) Web-based natural-history recording. Br Wildl 21:313–317Google Scholar
  40. Oliver T, Roy DB, Hill JK, Brereton T, Thomas CD (2010) Heterogeneous landscapes promote population stability. Ecol Lett 13:473–484PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Painter D (1999) Macroinvertebrate distributions and the conservation value of aquatic Coleoptera, Mollusca and Odonata in the ditches of traditionally managed and grazing fen at Wicken Fen, UK. J Appl Ecol 36:33–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pelini SL, Keppel JA, Kelley AE, Hellmann JJ (2010) Adaptation to host plants may prevent rapid insect responses to climate change. Global Change Biol 16:2923–2929Google Scholar
  43. Pollard E, Yates TJ (1993) Monitoring butterflies for ecology and conservation. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Prendergast J, Quinn RM, Lawton JH, Eversham BC, Gibbons DW (1993) Rare species, the coincidence of diversity hotspots and conservation strategies. Nature 365:335–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pryke SR, Samways MJ (2001) Width of grassland linkages for the conservation of butterflies in South African afforested areas. Biol Conserv 101:85–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ricciardi A, Simberloff D (2009) Assisted colonization is not a viable conservation strategy. Trends Ecol Evol 24:248–253PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rodriguez-Cabal MA, Stuble KL, Nunez MA, Sanders NJ (2009) Quantitative analysis of the effects of the exotic Argentine ant on seed-dispersal mutualisms. Biol Lett 5:499–502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sanders NJ, Gotelli NJ, Heller NJ, Gordon DM (2003) Community disassembly by an invasive species. Proc Natl Acad Sci 100:2474–2477PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sandler R (2009) The value of species and the ethical foundations of assisted colonization. Conserv Biol 24:424–431PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schweiger O, Settele J, Kudrna O, Klotz S, Kuhn (2008) Climate change can cause spatial mismatch of trophically interacting species. Ecology 89:3472–3479PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seddon PJ (2010) From reintroduction to assisted colonization: moving along the conservation translocation spectrum. Restor Ecol 18:796–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Settele J, Kuhn E (2009) Insect conservation. Science 325:41–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Singer MC, Parmesan C (2010) Phenological asynchrony between herbivorous insects and their hosts: signal of climate change or pre-existing adaptive strategy? Philos Trans R Soc B 365:3161–3176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stewart AJA, New TR (2007) Insect conservation in temperate biomes: issues, progress and prospects. In: Stewart AJA, New TR, Lewis OT (eds) Insect conservation biology. CABI, Wallingford, pp 1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stone R (2010) Home, home outside the range? Science 329:1592–1594PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stout JC, Kells AR, Goulson D (2003) Pollination of the invasive exotic shrub Lupinus arboreus (Fabaceae) by introduced bees in Tasmania. Biol Conserv 106:425–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stoutjesdijk P, Barkman JJ (1992) Microclimate, vegetation and fauna. Opulus, KnivstaGoogle Scholar
  58. Sutherland WJ, Adams WM, Aronson RB, Aveling R, Blackburn TM, Broad S, Ceballos G, Cote IM, Cowling R, Da Fonseca GAB, Dinerstein E, Ferraro PJ, Fleishman E, Gascon C, Hunter M Jr, Hutton J, Kareiva P, Kuria A, Macdonald DW, Mackinnon K, Madgwick FJ, Mascia MB, McNeely J, Milner-Gulland EJ, Moon S, Morley CG, Nelson S, Osborn D, Pai M, Parsons ECM, Peck LS, Possingham H, Prior SV, Pullin AS, Rands MRW, Ranganathan J, Redford KH, Rodriguez JP, Seymour F, Sobel J, Sodhi NS, Stott A, Vance-Borland K, Watkinson AR (2009) One hundred questions of importance to the conservation of global biological diversity. Conserv Biol 23:557–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sutherland W, Clout M, Cote IM, Daszak P, Depledge MH, Fellman L, Fleishman E, Garthwaite R, Gibbons DW, De Lurio J, Impey AJ, Lickorish F, Lindenmayer D, Madgwick J, Margerison C, Maynard T, Peck LS, Pretty J, Prior S, Redford KH, Scharlemann JPW, Spalding M, Watkinson AR (2010) A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2010. Trends Ecol Evol 25:1–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Taylor LR (1989) Objective and experiment in long-term research. In: Likens GE (ed) Long-term studies in ecology. Approaches and alternatives. Springer, New York, pp 20–70Google Scholar
  61. Thomas CD (2011) Translocation of species, climate change, and the end of trying to recreate past ecological communities. Trends Ecol Evol 26:216–221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thomas JA, Clarke RT (2004) Extinction rates and butterflies: response. Nature 305:1563–1564Google Scholar
  63. Thomas JA, Telfer MG, Roy DB, Preston CD, Greenwood JJD, Asher J, Fox R, Clarke RT, Lawton JH (2004) Comparative losses of British butterflies, birds, and plants and the global extinction crisis. Nature 303:1879–1881Google Scholar
  64. Thomas JA, Simcox DJ, Clarke RT (2009) Successful conservation of a threatened Maculinea butterfly. Science 325:80–83PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thomson D (2004) Competitive interactions between the invasive European honey bee and native bumble bees. Ecology 85:458–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Thomson D (2006) Detecting the effects of introduced species: a case study of competition between Apis and Bombus. Oikos 114:407–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. van Lenteren JC, Loomans AJM, Babendreier D, Bigler F (2008) Harmonia axyridis: an environmental risk assessment for Northwest Europe. Biocontrol 53:37–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. WallisDeVries MF, Van Swaay CAM (2006) Global warming and excess nitrogen may induce butterfly decline by microclimatic cooling. Global Change Biol 12:1620–1626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ware RL, Majerus MEN (2008) Intraguild predation of immature stages of British and Japanese coccinellids by the invasive ladybird Harmonia axyridis. Biocontrol 53:169–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Warren MS, Hill JK, Thomas JA, Asher J, Fox R, Huntley B, Roy DB, Telfer MG, Jeffcoate S, Harding P, Jeffcoate G, Willis SG, Greatorex-Davies JN, Moss D, Thomas CD (2001) Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change. Nature 414:65–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Webb JR, Lott DA (2004) The development of ISIS: a habitat-based invertebrate assemblage classification system for assessing conservation interest in England. J Insect Conserv 10:179–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Willis SG, Hill JK, Thomas CD, Roy DB, Fox R, Blakeley DS, Huntley B (2010) Assisted colonization in a changing climate: a test-study using two U.K. butterflies. Conserv Lett 2:45–51Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Environmental Science, School of Life SciencesUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

Personalised recommendations