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A review of the ecology of butterflies in British hedgerows

Journal of Environmental Management


In examining the influence of hedges on butterflies it is appropriate to consider the whole hedgerow complex, which may include verges and other adjacent land. This paper examines our knowledge of the role that hedgerows play in the ecology of butterflies in Britain. In general, the butterfly fauna of hedgerows consists mainly of common species although species richness is potentially high with 39 species (64% of the British list) being recorded from hedgerows. Optimum butterfly habitats such as unimproved grassland and coppiced woodland occupy only a tiny fraction of Britain and hedgerows may provide surrogate habitat for butterflies of such habitats in the wider countryside. We discuss the species typical of hedgerow habitats, the factors that affect butterfly distribution within hedgerows, their role as movement corridors and barriers, the relative merits of different hedgerow types and management suitable for butterflies. An improved understanding of how hedgerow management affects butterflies is required to ensure that the biodiversity potential of this widespread habitat is optimised in the wider countryside. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Author(s): Dover, J; Sparks, T

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2000