What evidence exists on conservation actions to conserve insects? A protocol for a systematic map of literature reviews


Insects play a central role in the functioning of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and contribute to a multitude of ecosystem services in managed and unmanaged systems Even local declines of insect abundance and richness can have enormous ecological and economic consequences. Evidence-informed conservation actions are essential to prevent potential cascading consequences of insect declines, and to help declining populations recover. Policy-makers rely on syntheses of primary research, such as reviews and meta-analyses, when making decisions about which conservation actions to implement. These evidence reviews vary in their quality, and do not necessarily synthesise the full range of scientific evidence found in the primary literature, which hampers decision-making. This evidence review map will identify, catalogue, and describe evidence reviews that investigate actions and policies to conserve insect biodiversity. This will help policy makers identify relevant reviews and researchers to identify synthesis gaps. It will also generate a list of conservation actions which can feed into future synthesis projects. We will produce an interactive database of evidence reviews, acting as a bibliography for policy-makers, curate a list of insect conservation actions that have been reviewed, and identify synthesis gaps for conservation actions that have not been reviewed.


We will search for evidence reviews across seven large, generic bibliographic databases, a database of environmental reviews, and five grey literature resources using a search string consisting of an insect substring, a biodiversity or population response substring, an evidence synthesis substring, and a conservation substring. The results will be deduplicated and then screened at title and abstract (concurrently) and full text levels against predefined inclusion criteria. We will initially perform consistency checking on a subset of records at each level to ensure the inclusion criteria are sufficiently clear and understood by multiple reviewers. We will extract a suite of descriptive meta-data from relevant reviews, including a description of the action and information on each review’s focal taxa, biomes, and locations. If resources allow, we will apply the CEESAT critical appraisal tool for evidence reviews to assess validity of individual records and the evidence base as a whole. We will summarise our findings in an interactive database of reviews and other visualisations, including evidence atlases and heat maps (cross tabulations of the volume of evidence across two categorical variables). The findings of the evidence review map will support the identification of synthesis gaps and clusters that may warrant further attention through secondary research.


Entomology, Management, Systematic review, Systematic map, Evidence mapping, Intervention

In Progress