National Parks to protect invertebrates

There is a real opportunity for Scotland to show leadership in protecting and improving invertebrate habitats in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. We would encourage conversations around the creation of a new National Park to consider how it could most protect invertebrates. Buglife has identified Important Invertebrate Areas (IIAs) in Scotland - these help identify the sites that support our most threatened and declining species to help develop a coordinated approach to securing sustainable invertebrate populations into the future and prevent their extinction. IIAs use the knowledge and data of over 85 national recording schemes and over 45 million records, developed closely with data and taxonomic specialists to ensure a rigorous approach. IIAs have been selected where they support a nationally significant assemblage of species or support a single globally endangered, European endangered or national Critically Endangered species. You can see the maps of Scotlands IIAs here: Wherever a new National Park is created, it should be managed for nature - including protecting invertebrates. We continue to be concerned by the use of chemicals on our land and in our waters. Pesticides cause huge damage to wildlife and often the indirect consequence of their use is not factored into approval decisions. There must be a full assessment of the environmental risks posed by pesticides applying the precautionary principle to safeguard non-target species. In recent years evidence of the impacts of light pollution on species and ecosystems has grown and consolidated. Two-thirds of invertebrates are partially or wholly nocturnal, and even diurnal species can be impacted by the loss of their night. Scotland has several designated Dark Sky Places, but without a national target to reduce light pollution the problem continues to grow particularly around our large urban areas. A new National Park should also aim to tackle light pollution.

Why the contribution is important

Insect populations are in crisis. Scientists have predicted that current rates of decline could lead to the extinction of 41% of the world’s insect species over the next few decades. In the UK, recent reviews have found that 63% of insect species are in decline. The UK and its diverse habitats support nearly 40,000 invertebrate species. They are vital to our lives, underpinning the ecosystem services which provide us with food, fertile soils and clean water, and the wildlife-rich habitats which we all enjoy. However, invertebrates are declining in response to widespread habitat loss and fragmentation, urbanisation, changing agricultural and land management practices, environmental pollution, non-native invasive species and many other factors.

by NatalieStevenson on May 31, 2022 at 10:59AM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.8
Based on: 6 votes


  • Posted by Prunusavium June 02, 2022 at 08:56

    National parks must not neglect those that live and work in these areas. National parks must take a holistic approach and not be designated for wildlife alone, but the working environment, culture and traditions of the area.
  • Posted by ihl June 04, 2022 at 00:26

    I fully agree that more needs to be done to protect invertebrates. But I fail to see why we need a National Park to do it. I also doubt that a National Park will have invertebrates high on their agenda. Better to carry on with existing conservation efforts eg Buglife, Butterfly Conservation etc
  • Posted by croftercowrie June 05, 2022 at 22:44

    I agree with both Prunusavium and ihl.
  • Posted by camusfearna June 05, 2022 at 23:55

    I disagree with the proposed criteria and agree with the above comments on it. To argue that a new National Park should be managed (solely) for nature, including protecting invertebrates, does not recognise that the founding legislation properly reflected the fact that any part of Scotland has multiple requirements that need to be considered and balanced. Using only one criteria, such as Important Invertebrate Areas, does not seem sensible.
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