The Entomological Society of America (ESA) has issued a statement about the value of entomological collections and the need to implement protections for these irreplaceable resources.
Entomological collections help scientists to rapidly identify invasive pests that affect agriculture, forestry, and human and animal health. Invasive insect and mite pests can have tremendous economic impacts (estimated at nearly $33 billion dollars annually in the U.S.).
Collections also offer a lens into the past, a snapshot of the present, and a means for predicting the future, particularly with regards to how planetary biodiversity has changed and continues to change in response to global shifts in climate and land use.
Living arthropod exhibit collections are critical for educating the public about biodiversity and the ecological importance of arthropods, and they are an important resource for the conservation and recovery of endangered and threatened species.
Despite these many contributions, funding cuts, collections staff reductions, and insufficient training of future taxonomists endanger both collections and the expertise required to care for and use them.
ESA recommends new or revised policies that will result in employment of additional well-trained collections staff, more training opportunities for existing staff, improved facilities and infrastructure, the development of new analytical methods and technological advances that further our ability to gain new knowledge through the study of specimens, improved funding, increased public awareness regarding the importance of collections to science and society as a whole, and more opportunities to engage the public through citizen science initiatives.
The full statement is available at http://www.entsoc.org/PDF/2016/ESA-PolicyStatement-EntomologicalCollections.pdf.
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