Declines and losses of insects throughout the world have wide ramifications for the sustainability of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, and for humanity. Those changes are complex and confusing to quantify and evaluate as bases for assessing needs and priorities for conservation. Australia's insect fauna is taxonomically and ecologically diverse, highly endemic (and thus unique) and also very imperfectly known, so that establishing numerical and distributional templates for insect diversity against which to measure changes must generally rely on very incomplete information – but aided by awareness of a number of clearly threatened species and evidence that profound changes to natural habitats from human activities continue. Insect Diversity, Declines and Conservation in Australia explores the major themes and problems in facilitating and expanding insect conservation interest and practice in Australia, through discussing how diversity may be evaluated, how changes might occur and the global significance of Australia's insects, as a prelude to outlining practical conservation measures that must be pursued with incomplete documentation and understanding of the fauna. Insect conservation studies and examples (with extensive references given) from many parts of the world are discussed to display how progress may be increased in Australia. Themes such as a focus on particular taxa or sites, habitat restoration and protected areas, threat recognition and alleviation, education and citizen science, attention to wider landscape/ecosystem protection, and honing conservation policy to increase attention to insects, are all integral components of developing measures to protect Australia's insect heritage. They are discussed in the context of increasing awareness of insect diversity and understanding the richness and vulnerability of numerous native taxa and their restricted environments.
Emeritus Professor Tim New is an entomologist with broad interests in insect systematics, ecology and conservation. For long based at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, he has travelled widely to collect and study insects in many parts of the world, and his extensive publications on these topics include nearly 50 books. He is recognised globally as one of the leading advocates for insect conservation.