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Conservation and monitoring of invertebrates in terrestrial protected areas

Melodie A. McGeoch, Hendrik Sithole, Michael J. Samways, John P. Simaika, James S. Pryke, Mike Picker, Charmaine Uys, Adrian J. Armstrong, Ansie S. Dippenaar-Schoeman, Ian A. Engelbrecht, Brigitte Braschler, Michelle Hamer

Koedoe; Vol 53, No 2 (2011), 13 pages. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v53i2.1000

Submitted: 05 May 2010
Published:  09 May 2011


Invertebrates constitute a substantial proportion of terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity and are critical to ecosystem function. However, their inclusion in biodiversity monitoring and conservation planning and management has lagged behind better-known, more widely appreciated taxa. Significant progress in invertebrate surveys, systematics and bioindication, both globally and locally, means that their use in biodiversity monitoring and conservation is becoming increasingly feasible. Here we outline challenges and solutions to the integration of invertebrates into biodiversity management objectives and monitoring in protected areas in South Africa. We show that such integration is relevant and possible, and assess the relative suitability of seven key taxa in this context. Finally, we outline a series of recommendations for mainstreaming invertebrates in conservation planning, surveys and monitoring in and around protected areas.

Conservation implications: Invertebrates constitute a substantial and functionally significant component of terrestrial biodiversity and are valuable indicators of environmental condition. Although consideration of invertebrates has historically been neglected in conservation planning and management, substantial progress with surveys, systematics and bioindication means that it is now both feasible and advisable to incorporate them into protected area monitoring activities.

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Author affiliations

Melodie A. McGeoch, Cape Research Centre, South African National Parks, Cape Town, South Africa
Hendrik Sithole, Savanna and Arid Parks, South African National Parks, Kimberley, South Africa
Michael J. Samways, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
John P. Simaika, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
James S. Pryke, Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Mike Picker, Zoology Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Charmaine Uys, Zoology Department, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Adrian J. Armstrong, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Ansie S. Dippenaar-Schoeman, ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Ian A. Engelbrecht, Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Johannesburg, South Africa
Brigitte Braschler, Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Michelle Hamer, Biosystematics Division, South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa


conservation planning, bioindicators, insect conservation, inventories, management, nature reserve, systematics


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ISSN: 0075-6458 (print) | ISSN: 2071-0771 (online)

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