Conservation of Edible Insects in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Cathy Maria DzerefosEmail author


Throughout sub-Saharan Africa wild-sourced foods, like edible insects, have been a way of life improving nutrition and providing a potential source of income. Unfortunately, natural areas are increasingly altered as time progresses through natural and anthropogenic factors that directly or indirectly alter ecosystems. Previously sacred places that were no-go areas or required special permission to access inadvertently served as havens for biodiversity. Cultural values and beliefs have informed methods of harvesting from nature. In the case of the edible stink bug Encosternum delegorguei some communities are focussed on short-term gains and harvest unsustainably by felling trees while others are implementing adaptive management. South Africa seems to be mindful of insect biodiversity and a few formally protected areas exist for the persistence of threatened butterflies but the inclusion of edible insects such as beetles, stinkbugs, caterpillars, locusts and termites in protected areas has historically been by accident rather than by design. As the habitat of edible insects is increasingly impacted on by human activities the benefits and potential need to be understood and managed. Community resource reserves, ecotourism and conservation flagship species for environmental education are recommended for a sustainable future.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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