Conserving Insect Diversity in the Tropics: Challenges and Prospects
Department of Zoology, Obafemi Awolowo University,
Nig . J. Entomol. 33: 7 – 15 (2017)
ABSTRACT: The tropical region is rich in biodiversity for many organisms including insects. It is also home to many endemic insect species and those which play crucial irreplaceable ecological roles. Tropical ecosystems are, however, under increasing threats from various anthropogenic pressures including, but not limited to deforestation, intensive agriculture and climate change. While attention has been drawn to biodiversity conservation in the tropics, little information is available on the challenges and prospects of conserving target groups such as insects. It is important to fill this knowledge gap since limited resources are available for conservation. Consequently, conservation priorities are often defined based on available information and data on different focal taxa. This review identifies the challenges to insect conservation in the tropics and emphasizes the need to fill critical knowledge and data gaps to ensure that insects in the tropics gain the important attention they deserve on a global conservation scale of preference. The critical threats and challenges identified in the tropics are climate change, alien invasion, habitat loss, sampling difficulties and the challenge of taxonomy. Various approaches to conservation were also considered. These include conservation priorities ranging from habitat-focused to organism-focused approaches. This will ensure that conservation efforts match up to the alarming rate of loss of insect diversity currently taking place in the tropics.
Keywords: Anthropogenic threats, Ecosystem services, Endemic, Extinction, Pollinator, Predators, Parasitoids