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Book from insect saving guru

Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Professor Michael Samways has penned a new 600-page book that provides both academic insights and practical guidelines on why and how insects are to be conserved globally.

Samways, respected by many as one of the founding fathers of the discipline of insect conservation, is a distinguished professor in the SU Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology in the Faculty of AgriSciences.

His new book, Insect Conservation: A Global Synthesis, is published by the UK-based publishing house Fabi. It describes the book as “a landmark, field defining work”. It presents a state-of-the-art, comprehensive review of the entire field of insect conservation – from caring for a single species to all those found in a whole ecosystem. The book also includes sections on how it can be done in both natural and urban landscape.

The Somerset West resident wrote the book with students of conservation biology and ecology in mind as well as professional entomologists with an interest in conservation, and conservationists with a passion for insects. Chapters on the conservation of insects within towns and cities and agriculture might appeal to members of the public, he adds, as it also includes practical notes on how it can be achieved and how diminishing insect populations can be restored.

Separate chapters are also dedicated to insect conservation within freshwater systems, in forests, grasslands and caves.

The cover illustration and those of the first four chapters were done by specialist entomological artist Tierney Brosius in the USA, while the renowned South African botanical artist, Vicki Thomas, did all further illustrations. Over 260 illustrations are included throughout the book.

Over the course of his career, Samways has contributed to more than 360 scientific papers, written chapters to 61 books and authored or co-authored 15 others. Books include guides on South African dragonflies, a manual on freshwater assessments using dragonflies, the remarkable natural recovery of an island in the Seychelles and books on insect conservation in general.

Samways has been able roll out numerous new ideas and management principles on how to at best conserve insects within the realm of agriculture and forestry activities successfully.

He has received many noteworthy national and international awards for the way in which he has been able to put thorough research and academic principles into practice. This includes a Lifetime Award from the Chancellor of SU and the IUCN/Species Survival Commission Chair’s Citation of Excellence, and recently the prestigious Marsh Award from the Royal Entomological Society in the UK for “outstanding and exemplary lifetime contribution in insect conservation.”

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