This book describes the insect fauna of the sand dunes of the Sefton Coast in north Merseyside in North West England; the largest example of this rare habitat in England. As this book will show, coastal dunes are renowned for specialist insects that are rarely, if ever, found in the wider countryside. They also abound in flower-rich grasslands that have otherwise largely disappeared from the British landscape and on which many insects depend. By the mid-20th century around half of the Sefton duneland had been lost. Indeed, it is remarkable that so much of it survived, together with most of its precious flora and fauna.
Nowadays, the dunes are largely safeguarded, reflecting their importance for coast protection, public recreation, education and scientific research, as well as for their unique wildlife. However, all is not well. Development may still be allowed right up to the edge of protected sites and, while things have improved recently, manpower and funding for essential dune management have been cut and replaced by over-reliance on volunteers. As described in the book, large areas of open dune habitat, essential for our specialised insects, have been smothered by dense scrub. Declines in British wildlife over the last 70 years or so have been well documented.
One of the main themes of the book is how quickly the insect fauna is changing in response to climate change. Dozens of species that were unknown here a decade or two ago are now commonplace and many others will be here soon. These changes provide strong evidence of the impacts of climate change and strengthen the urgency of tackling it.