Improving insect conservation management through insect monitoring and stakeholder involvement
In recent years, the decline of insect biodiversity and the imminent loss of provided ecosystem functions and services has received public attention and raised the demand for political action. The complex, multi-causal contributors to insect decline require a broad interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach that addresses ecological and social aspects to find sustainable solutions. The project Diversity of Insects in Nature protected Areas (DINA) assesses insect communities in 21 nature reserves in Germany, and considers interactions with plant diversity, pesticide exposure, spatial and climatic factors. The nature reserves border on agricultural land, to investigate impacts on insect diversity. Part of the project is to obtain scientific data from Malaise traps and their surroundings, while another part involves relevant stakeholders to identify opportunities and obstacles to insect diversity conservation. Our results indicate a positive association between insect richness and biomass.
Insect richness was negatively related to the number of stationary pesticides (soil and vegetation), pesticides measured in ethanol, the amount of area in agricultural production, and precipitation. Our qualitative survey along with stakeholder interviews show that there is general support for insect conservation, while at the same time the stakeholders expressed the need for more information and data on insect biodiversity, as well as flexible policy options. We conclude that conservation management for insects in protected areas should consider a wider landscape. Local targets of conservation management will have to integrate different stakeholder perspectives. Scientifically informed stakeholder dialogues can mediate conflicts of interests, knowledge, and values to develop mutual conservation scenarios.