The seven impediments in invertebrate conservation and how to overcome them
Conservation priorities, Ecosystem services, Extinction, Information shortfalls, Science funding, Species diversity
Despite their high diversity and importance for humankind, invertebrates are often neglected in biodiversity conservation policies. We identify seven impediments to their effective protection: (1) invertebrates and their ecological services are mostly unknown to the general public (the public dilemma); (2) policymakers and stakeholders are mostly unaware of invertebrate conservation problems (the political dilemma); (3) basic science on invertebrates is scarce and underfunded (the scientific dilemma); (4) most species are undescribed (the Linnean shortfall); (5) the distribution of described species is mostly unknown (the Wallacean shortfall); (6) the abundance of species and their changes in space and time are unknown (the Prestonian shortfall); (7) species ways of life and sensitivities to habitat change are largely unknown (the Hutchinsonian shortfall). Numerous recent developments in taxonomy, inventorying, monitoring, data compilation, statistical analysis and science communication facilitate overcoming these impediments in both policy and practice. We suggest as possible solutions for the public dilemma: better public information and marketing. For the political dilemma: red-listing, legal priority listing and inclusion in environmental impact assessment studies. For the scientific dilemma: parataxonomy, citizen science programs and biodiversity informatics. For the Linnean shortfall: biodiversity surrogacy, increased support for taxonomy and advances in taxonomic publications. For the Wallacean shortfall: funding of inventories, compilation of data in public repositories and species distribution modeling. For the Prestonian shortfall: standardized protocols for inventorying and monitoring, widespread use of analogous protocols and increased support for natural history collections. For the Hutchinsonian shortfall: identifying good indicator taxa and studying extinction rates by indirect evidence.