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Insects 2013, 4(4), 761-780; doi:10.3390/insects4040761

Habitat Re-Creation (Ecological Restoration) as a Strategy for Conserving Insect Communities in Highly Fragmented Landscapes

The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, 620 E Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 3 November 2013 / Accepted: 8 November 2013 / Published: 5 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Conservation and Diversity)
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Abstract

Because of their vast diversity, measured by both numbers of species as well as life history traits, insects defy comprehensive conservation planning. Thus, almost all insect conservation efforts target individual species. However, serious insect conservation requires goals that are set at the faunal level and conservation success requires strategies that conserve intact communities. This task is complicated in agricultural landscapes by high levels of habitat fragmentation and isolation. In many regions, once widespread insect communities are now functionally trapped on islands of ecosystem remnants and subject to a variety of stressors associated with isolation, small population sizes and artificial population fragmentation. In fragmented landscapes ecological restoration can be an effective strategy for reducing localized insect extinction rates, but insects are seldom included in restoration design criteria. It is possible to incorporate a few simple conservation criteria into restoration designs that enhance impacts to entire insect communities. Restoration can be used as a strategy to address fragmentation threats to isolated insect communities if insect communities are incorporated at the onset of restoration planning. Fully incorporating insect communities into restoration designs may increase the cost of restoration two- to three-fold, but the benefits to biodiversity conservation and the ecological services provided by intact insect communities justify the cost.
Keywords: remnant-dependent insects; ecosystem restoration; insect conservation; climate change adaptation remnant-dependent insects; ecosystem restoration; insect conservation; climate change adaptation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shuey, J.A. Habitat Re-Creation (Ecological Restoration) as a Strategy for Conserving Insect Communities in Highly Fragmented Landscapes. Insects 2013, 4, 761-780.

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