Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem Services: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem Services

1st Edition

By Timothy D. Schowalter

CRC Press

362 pages | 61 Color Illus. | 86 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781466553903
pub: 2013-05-23
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pub: 2013-05-23
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With few exceptions, insects are perceived in industrialized countries as undesirable pests. In reality, relatively few insects interfere with us or our resources. Most have benign or positive effects on ecosystem services, and many represent useful resources in non-industrialized countries. Challenging traditional perceptions of the value of insects, Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem Services explores the ways insects affect the ecosystem services we depend upon. It also fosters an appreciation for the amazing diversity, adaptive ability, and natural roles of insects.

The book discusses how the ways in which we manage insects will determine an ecosystem’s capacity to continue to supply services. It reviews aspects of insect physiology, behavior, and ecology that affect their interactions with other ecosystem components and ecosystem services, emphasizing critical effects of insects on the sustainability of ecosystem processes and services. The author examines the integration of insect ecology with self-regulatory aspects of ecosystems that control primary production, energy and nutrient fluxes, and global climate—functions that underlie the sustainability of ecosystem services.

Clearly, we need environmental policies that meet needs for pest control where warranted, but do not undermine the important contributions of insects to sustaining ecosystem processes and services.With in-depth coverage of the multiple, often compensatory, effects of insects on various resources or ecosystem services and on the consequences of control tactics for those resources or services, Insects and Sustainability of Ecosystem Services recommends changes in perspectives and policies regarding insects that will contribute to sustainability of ecosystem services.


"As the most diverse taxon on earth, insects have complex roles in ecosystems and hence affect provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services and supporting services provided by ecosystems. This new synthesis enhances our understanding of the important functional roles of insects in ecosystem services, which will help us manage our natural resources in a better way to reach the goal of sustainability."

—Jung-Tai Chao, Taiwan Forestry Research Institute

"… the chapters of Schowalter's interesting new book range from insect ecology to the valuation and management of their benefits. … an important source for everybody interested in sustainable management of insects driving ecosystem functioning."

—Teja Tscharntke, Georg-August-University

"Dr. Schowalter brings forth many important topics within this realm as he ultimately leads the reader to a strong understanding of the important interplay between humans, insects, and the shaping of environments throughout the world. … well written and designed to allow the reader to quickly grasp and understand even the most difficult concepts. I have little doubt that this will become a "must have" reference for anyone interested insects and their role in the sustainability of ecosystem services."

—Mathew A. Camper Affiliation: Instructor/Entomologist Colorado State University

Table of Contents


Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Characteristics

Insects and Insect Control

Scope of This Book


Humans versus Insects: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Honey Bees (the "Good")

Other Insects Used as Food or Cosmetics

Medical Uses

Industrial Uses

Cultural Icons

Indicators of Environmental Change

Nuisances (the "Bad")

Venomous Insects and Other Arthropods

Vectors of Human and Livestock Diseases

Crop Pests

Instruments of Warfare (the "Ugly")



Insect Responses to Environmental Changes

Adaptive Attributes


Environmental Variation


Insect Responses


Rate of Adaptation by Insects



Changes in Insect Abundance and Distribution

Population Fluctuation through Time

Factors Affecting Population Size

Regulation of Population Size

Population Fluctuation in Space



How Do Ecosystems Provide Services?

Ecosystem Structure and Function

Interactions among Species

Climate Control

Regulation of Ecosystem Conditions

Ecosystem Development

Differences among Ecosystems

Predicting Change



Effects of Anthropogenic Changes and Management

How Humans Affect Ecosystems

Insecticide Effects

Alternative Control Options



Effects of Insects on Ecosystem Services

Effects on Provisioning Services

Effects on Cultural Services

Effects on Supporting Services

Effects on Regulating Services



Valuation of Insect and Management Effects

Valuation of Insect Effects on Provisioning Services

Valuation of Insect Effects on Cultural Services

Valuation of Insect Effects on Supporting Services

Valuation of Insect Effects on Regulating Services

Valuation of Insect Management Strategies


Conclusions and Recommendations

Why New Pest Management Approaches Are Needed

Management Goals

Deciding When to Control

Greater Emphasis on Ecological Principles

Use of a Broader Range of Tactics

Suitability and Availability

Implementation of Integrated Pest Management Strategy

Integrated Pest Management: A Case Study

Urban Responsibilities

Concluding Comments



About the Originator

About the Series

Social Environmental Sustainability

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / Entomology