Inventories of invertebrate species are produced by a number of workers for protected areas in South Africa. The value of these inventories for the protected area management process was investigated using a questionnaire to protected area managers, and by examining a sample of published inventories. The questionnaire results indicate that species inventories are sought after, but that they are largely not used in the management process. Invertebrate species inventories have the potential to be useful in several stages of the protected area management process, but making inventories useful requires more than a list of species names. To make inventories more useful they should include estimates of inventory completeness or statistically rigorous estimates of relative species richness, information on spatial distribution of species richness within a protected area, or their design should target threatened and rare species or aim to identify potential indicator species. Protected area managers and scientists producing inventories should collaborate to ensure that the resultant information is most useful.
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