How can museums contribute for food provision and security in Africa a stakeholder's approach.
De Prins, J.
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The edible insects, among others belonging to the order Lepidoptera, gain a huge economic and societal interest since they can significantly improve diets of humans and feed of livelihood at present and in the future. On the other hand the museums and their insect collections for centuries were the headquarters of taxonomic efforts trying to achieve some of the collection orientated fundamental goals, e.g.: 1) to maintain insect collections presenting the natural richness of natural diversity; 2) to accumulate new evidences of changes in natural diversity of insects; 3) to support the taxonomy as a biodiversity orientated science now and in the future. However, for long time museum based fundamental science and society needs had almost no overlapping areas. The 21st century presents us the acute challenge not only to feed the 9 billion people in twenty years but also to give the answers how taxonomy, as the fundamental museum based science, can serve the society needs. Here we present an exemplar case study that the robust taxonomic databank on 36,611 species group names of Afrotropical moths and verified, referenced 4,155 records of plants on which insects feed, as well as 59,489 detailed distribution data in the Afrotropics can contribute to the initiative Insects to feed the world . The interactions of herbivorous insects play a key role in the tropical natural environment and therefore, we promote the holistic approach studying Afrotropical ecosystems and inhabited areas by humans as one integrative unit. Societal needs cannot be separated from the knowledge on sustainable management of natural resources. The challenges related to the globalization, displacing and deprivation of millions of people in Africa also drastically changed the distribution pattern of natural resources. Our databank provides and disseminates online (free) a historic and constantly updated coverage on herbivorous Lepidoptera in the Afrotropical region in a structured, user friendly way, with multiple search possibilities and visual iconography.
CitationDe Prins, J.; Mergen, P.; Vantomme, P. (2014). How can museums contribute for food provision and security in Africa a stakeholder's approach.. , Insects to Feed the World, online,