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Title: Missing the bigger picture: Why insect monitoring programs are limited in their ability to document the effects of habitat loss

The fate of insects in the Anthropocene has been widely discussed in the scientific literature, the popular media, and in policy circles. This recent attention is justified because reductions in insect abundance and diversity have the potential to undermine the stability of terrestrial ecosystems. Reports of insect declines have also been accompanied by skepticism that is healthy and to be expected in scientific discussion. However, we are concerned about a prevalent misconception that equates reports from monitored natural areas with the global status of insects. In the vast majority of cases, areas monitored for arthropods are undeveloped and thus do not record or even necessarily reflect the masses of insects that are continuously being impacted by habitat loss to urban, suburban and agricultural expansion. We address this misconception and discuss ways in which conservation and policy can be enhanced by correctly locating results from insect monitoring programs within our broader knowledge of biodiversity loss.

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Conservation Letters
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National Science Foundation
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