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.
Table of Contents
Introduction. History of Human Interactions with Insects. Insect Ecology/What Attributes Make Insects Successful. Changes in Insect Abundance and Distribution. Insect Effects on Humans, Resources and Ecosystem Services. Effects of Anthropogenic Activity and "Management" on Insect Roles. Value of Insect Services. Conservation and Sustainability. Conclusions and Recommendations. Bibliography.
Timothy D. Schowalter is Professor or Entomology at the Entomology Department at LSU, College of Agriculture.