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Type: Proceedings Papers
Published: 2022-11-30
Page range: 89–93
Abstract views: 119
PDF downloaded: 0

Global mite diversity is in crisis: what can we do about it?

The University of Queensland, School of Biological Sciences, 4072 Brisbane, Australia, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission, Mite Specialist Group, Conservation Initiatives Coordinator
Ondokuz Mayis University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Protection, 55139 Samsun, Turkey, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Species Survival Commission, Mite Specialist Group, Chair
symbiosis extinction cascade conservation ecocentrism sustainability social justice


Since the 1970’s, biodiversity, conservation and ecology journals have published increasing numbers of reports of major, widespread losses of the diversity and abundance of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, mostly insects, especially in tropical regions. Mites make a major contribution to global ecosystem services and ecological functioning. Reports on diversity and abundance losses among mites, including ticks, have appeared more recently. The huge problems of population decline and direct extinction among free-living invertebrate species across the world are compounded by the host dependency of enormous numbers of other invertebrate species, which puts them at serious risk of secondary endangerment and co-extinction. They include huge numbers of mite species in symbiotic relationships, including phoretic and parasitic relationships, and the highly host-specific, phytophagous eriophyoids. The destruction and degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and habitats across the world, especially for agricultural expansion and intensification, are the major causes of biodiversity loss, with climate change, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species and pesticide use among other contributors. Measures and activities that would substantially contribute to saving the great majority of the world’s remaining biodiversity include the protection of all remaining areas of natural and semi-natural habitat, especially the subtropical and tropical forests, with the 36 global biodiversity hotspots an absolute priority; habitat restoration with local species; higher global soil carbon levels; rapid transition from fossil fuel use to renewable energy sources to stop climate change; minimization of pollution; universal education and social justice; a lower human population; and sustainable use of global resources. The rapid implementation of these and other practical measures at the local, national and global scales is essential to ensure the long term survival of the vast majority of biodiversity, including mite species.


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