Moving on from the insect apocalypse narrative: engaging with evidence-based insect conservation

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Manu E. Saunders, Jasmine K Janes, James C O'Hanlon


Recent studies showing temporal changes in local and regional insect populations received exaggerated global media coverage. Confusing and inaccurate science communication on this important issue could have counter-productive effects on public support for insect conservation. The ‘insect apocalypse’ narrative is fuelled by a limited number of studies that are restricted geographically (predominantly UK, Europe, USA) and taxonomically (predominantly bees, macrolepidoptera, and ground beetles). Biases in sampling and analytical methods (e.g. categorical vs. continuous time series, different diversity metrics) limit the relevance of these studies as evidence of generalised global insect decline. Rather, the value of this research lies in highlighting important areas for priority investment. We summarise research, communication and policy priorities for evidence-based insect conservation, including key areas of knowledge to increase understanding of insect population dynamics. Importantly, we advocate for a balanced perspective in science communication to better serve both public and scientific interests.



Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Life Sciences



Published: 2019-07-16 03:48

Last Updated: 2019-12-13 01:02

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