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The importance of shelter for butterflies in open landscapes

Journal of Insect Conservation

Abstract

In Britain, much emphasis has been placed on conserving butterfly species in specialized habitats, since this is where most of it's threatened butterflies exist, whilst the wider countryside has been largely overlooked. However, there is increasing awareness that small improvements to the dominant landscape could potentially reap huge benefits to the populations of many of Britain's butterfly species. Recent studies have also stressed the importance of the landscape scale in the conservation of butterflies in small fragmented habitats. In this paper, we examine data from a variety of sources and conclude that the importance of shelter in open landscapes may be underestimated since recording is often restricted to the optimum conditions suggested by the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. In less favourable conditions, butterflies may place greater reliance on those components of the landscape offering shelter. In light of the current policy of agricultural de-intensification we discuss how modifications to our current landscapes could benefit a wide range of species.

Author(s): Dover, JW; Sparks, TH; Greatorex-Davies, JN

Journal: Journal of Insect Conservation

Year: 1997

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