Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Legally protect habitat Ten studies evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of legally protecting habitat. Six studies were in the UK and one was in each of Australia, Singapore and Ireland and the USA. Three of the studies used data from the same national monitoring scheme across different years. COMMUNITY RESPONSE (3 STUDIES) Richness/diversity (3 studies): One replicated, site comparison study in Singapore found that protected primary or secondary forest reserves had a higher species richness of butterflies than unprotected forest fragments. One replicated, paired, site comparison study in Ireland reported that raised bogs protected as Special Areas of Conservation (where restoration had sometimes taken place) had a similar species richness of moths to unprotected bogs. One replicated, site comparison study in the UK found that, in the first three years after protection as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), woodland, grassland and heathland sites lost a similar proportion of 29 threatened butterfly species to unprotected sites. POPULATION RESPONSE (8 STUDIES) Abundance (7 studies): Three of five site comparison studies (including four replicated studies and one before-and-after study) in the UK and Ireland found that sites protected as National Nature Reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (in one case also managed by coppicing), or surrounded by SSSIs, had a higher abundance of heath fritillary, all butterflies and 30/57 species of butterfly than unprotected sites. However, one of these studies only found the result using one of two sets of sites. The other two studies found that grasslands protected as National Nature Reserves or SSSIs and raised bogs protected as Special Areas of Conservation had a similar total abundance of moths, and change in abundance of chalkhill blue butterflies, to unprotected sites. However, one of these studies found mixed results for individual moth species. One replicated, site comparison study in the USA found that, at sites with the highest levels of protection, abundances of Karner blue, frosted elfin and Persius duskywing did not change over time, whereas they decreased at sites with lower levels of protection. One replicated, site comparison study in the UK found that protected grasslands assessed as being in “Favourable” habitat condition had worse population trends for 4/8 butterfly species but better for 1/8 species than grasslands in “Unfavourable” condition. One study in Australia reported that after a grassland was designated as a local reserve, populations of golden sun-moth and pale sun-moth persisted for at least four years. BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)Collected, 04 Jul 2022 13:36:18 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Retain connectivity between habitat patches Three studies evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of retaining connectivity between habitat patches. One study was in each of the USA, the Netherlands and Estonia. COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY) Richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, paired, site comparison study in Estonia found that well connected cleared patches within a woodland had a similar species richness of butterflies to isolated cleared patches. POPULATION RESPONSE (0 STUDIES) BEHAVIOUR (2 STUDIES) Use (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in the Netherlands found that low quality habitat patches which were well connected were more likely to retain Alcon large blue populations than less well connected patches, but connectivity did not affect occupancy of high quality patches. Behaviour change (1 study): One replicated, controlled study in the USA found that common buckeye were more likely to colonize farther away habitat patches if they were released on corridors of suitable habitat than if released in unsuitable habitat, but there was no difference when released close to habitat patches. Collected, 04 Jul 2022 14:39:38 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Retain buffer zones around core habitat We found no studies that evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of retaining buffer zones around core habitat. ‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this action during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore we have been unable to assess whether or not the action is effective or has any harmful impacts. Please get in touch if you know of such a study for this action.Collected, 04 Jul 2022 15:06:43 +0100
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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