Ecosystem services provided by the little things that run the world

Ameixa, O.M.C.C., Soares, A.O., Soares, A.M.V.M. & Lillebø, A.I. (2018) Ecosystem services provided by the little things that run the world. Selected Studies in Biodiversity (ed. by E. Şen), 267-302. IntechOpen. ISBN:978-1-78923-233-2.

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  • Jun, 2018


Highest extinction risk and consequently biodiversity loss are predicted to occur in invertebrates, specifically insects, and these declines are expected to cascade onto ecosystem functioning and human well-being. Although this knowledge is intrinsically present in more traditional communities, in more urban environments, mapping ecosystem services can be an important tool to raise people’s awareness on the importance of preserving insect diversity. After an extensive revision of the available literature, we used a rule-based approach to assess the provisioning, regulating and maintenance, and cultural services delivered by insects. We followed the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) and identified several potential indicators that may help underpin the mapping and valuation of the services delivered by insects. From our search, we extracted a total of 73 indicators, divided as 17 Provisional indicators, 27 Regulation and Maintenance indicators, and 29 Cultural indicators. We concluded that insects are providers of services in the three major ‘Sections’ of ecosystem services defined by CICES. Despite the lack of recognition of provisioning and cultural services, the indicators provided may help to raise awareness on the importance of the little things the run the world, in order to preserve traditional and technological uses of insects and their services. Download Publication