Information sources for invertebrate conservation

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The following resources were compiled for the training course on insect conservation that I led for BBOWT in March 2010. Course participants may also like to join the free mailing list for the Buckinghamshire Invertebrate Group.

Books

  • Dennis, R.L.H. 2010. A resource-based habitat view for conservation – butterflies in the British landscape. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. [A densely technical read, but full of insight into the ways in which butterflies interact with their environment.]
  • Fry, R., and Lonsdale, D. 1991. Habitat conservation for insects – a neglected green issue. Amateur Entomologists’ Society. [Contains lots of good information, but not as easy to use as Kirby’s book, and currently out of print.]
  • Kirby, P. 2001. Habitat management for Invertebrates – a practical handbook. RSPB, Sandy. [If you only want one book on invertebrate conservation, make sure it is this one!]
  • Thomas, J., and Lewington, R. 2010. The butterflies of Britain and Ireland (second edition). British Wildlife Publishing, Gillingham. [A fully revised edition of this classic book, with excellent summaries of the latest research into butterflies and their habitats.]

Selected British Wildlife articles

  • Alexander, K., Butler, J., and Green, T. 2006. The value of different tree and shrub species to wildlife. British Wildlife 18: 18–28.
  • Brooks, S.J. 1993. Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Invertebrates: Guidelines for invertebrate site surveys. British Wildlife 4: 283–286. [Also reprinted as AES Leaflet 38, Site survey guidelines, see http://is.gd/9HcbG%5D.
  • Key, R.S. 2000. Bare ground and the conservation of invertebrates. British Wildlife 11: 183–191.

Online resources and downloadable reports
The Amateur Entomologists’ Society has an overview of insect conservation and guidance for insect-friendly gardening.

Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, has some excellent resources on its website, including online summaries of its report on Managing priority habitats for invertebrates.
See also Buglife’s perspective on Ragwort and its control, and the series of farm habitat leaflets.

Butterfly Conservation has a habitat advice page with lots of downloadable leaflets on particular topics. Many of their other reports can also be downloaded.

The British Dragonfly Society has an online version of its Managing habitats for dragonflies leaflet; also on its website are “Management Fact Files” for the rarer species (look for the “MFF” links).

The Code for insect collecting is available from Invertebrate Link, and some of their other publications are hosted by the AES.

Natural England makes a range of reports and leaflets available, including:
Organising surveys to determine site quality for invertebrates [short report]
Grazing Heathland: A guide to impact assessment for insects and reptiles [excellent, although lengthy, review of the factors that should be taken into account before implementing a grazing regime]
The butterfly handbook: general advice note on mitigating the impacts of roads on butterflies [report]
Help save the Bumblebee … get more buzz from your garden [leaflet]
A review of the invertebrates associated with lowland calcareous grassland
A review of seepage invertebrates in England
Brownfield: red data. The values artificial habitats have for uncommon invertebrates
Surveying terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates for conservation evaluation [technical report, includes description of ISIS system for assessing invertebrate assemblages]

Some of the papers in the Journal of Insect Conservation are freely available online, as are some in Insect Conservation and Diversity.

Conservation statuses for invertebrate species
Information on conservation statuses is dispersed and confusing, but here are the main sources. The nearest thing there is to a complete listing of all species statuses, including invertebrates, is to be found in the JNCCConservation Designations Spreadsheet”, a large file (last updated on 23 November 2009).

This includes species listings for BAP priorities, Red Data Books, Nationally Scarce, legally protected and some others. It needs using with care, as the various statuses have been applied at different times (some are now out-of-date) and using varying criteria. The major omission is national statuses for moths, which have never been formally published by JNCC, despite being widely used for many years. The best source for these is: Waring, P., Townsend, M., and Lewington, R. 2009. Field guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing, Gillingham.

JNCC have very recently published a revised Butterfly Red List for Great Britain, which is not yet incorporated into the above spreadsheet.

Many of the statuses in the above spreadsheet were originally published in the series of Reviews that JNCC have published. These generally include a good summary of what was known about the distribution and ecology of the rarer species at the time (but some are now rather out-of-date). The older, hard-copy reviews are listed; the latest ones can be downloaded.

The British Dragonfly Society has further information on dragonfly and damselfly statuses, including regional priorities.

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