Study

Effects of grassland abandonment, restoration and management on butterflies and vascular plants

  • Published source details Öckinger E., Eriksson A.K. & Smith H.G. (2006) Effects of grassland abandonment, restoration and management on butterflies and vascular plants. Biological Conservation, 133, 291-300.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change type of livestock grazing

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore or create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Change type of livestock grazing

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2003–2004 in 36 semi-natural grasslands near Lund, Sweden (Öckinger et al. 2006) found that grasslands grazed by cattle or horses had a greater species richness of butterflies and burnet moths than grasslands grazed by sheep. Sites had a greater species richness of butterflies and burnet moths if they were currently grazed by horses (13 species) or cattle (12 species) compared to sites grazed by sheep (7 species), and were similar to sites with no grazing (12 species). From 1999–2003, twelve abandoned, semi-natural grasslands were restored by clearing trees and shrubs, erecting fences, and re-introducing grazing animals. Butterflies and burnet moths were surveyed using transects (150 m/ha) six or seven times in May–August 2003 or June–August 2004 on 12 restored grasslands, 12 continuously grazed semi-natural grasslands and 12 abandoned grasslands. Under current management, 12 sites were cattle grazed, six were horse grazed, eight were sheep grazed and 10 had no grazing.

    (Summarised by: Andew Bladon, edited from Farmland Synopsis)

  2. Restore or create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2003–2004 in 36 semi-natural grasslands near Lund, Sweden (Öckinger et al. 2006) found that the species richness and abundance of butterflies and burnet moths was similar in recently restored, abandoned and continuously grazed semi-natural grasslands. On restored grassland, the species richness (9 species) and abundance (101 individuals) of butterflies and burnet moths was similar to that on both abandoned (richness: 11 species; abundance: 216 individuals) and continuously grazed grassland (richness: 13 species; abundance: 225 individuals). However, sites currently grazed by sheep (7 species) had a lower species richness of butterflies than sites grazed by horses (13 species) or cattle (12 species), or with no grazing (12 species). From 1999–2003, twelve abandoned, semi-natural grasslands were restored by clearing trees and shrubs, erecting fences, and re-introducing grazing animals. Butterflies and burnet moths were surveyed using transects (150 m/ha) six or seven times in May–August 2003 or June–August 2004 on 12 restored grasslands, 12 abandoned grasslands which had not been managed for 5–15 years, and 12 continuously grazed semi-natural grasslands. Under current management, 12 sites were cattle grazed, six were horse grazed, eight were sheep grazed and 10 had no grazing.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland Synopsis)

  3. Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2003–2004 in 36 semi-natural grasslands near Lund, Sweden (Öckinger et al. 2006) found that the species richness and abundance of butterflies and burnet moths was similar in abandoned and grazed semi-natural grasslands. On abandoned grassland, the species richness (11 species) and abundance (216 individuals) of butterflies and burnet moths was similar to the richness and abundance on both continuously grazed (richness: 13 species; abundance: 225 individuals) and recently restored grassland (richness: 9 species; abundance: 101 individuals). However, sites with no grazing had more species (12) than sites currently grazed by sheep (7 species). Butterflies and burnet moths were surveyed using transects (150 m/ha) six or seven times in May–August 2003 or June–August 2004 on 12 grasslands which had been abandoned for 5–15 years, 12 continuously grazed semi-natural grasslands, and 12 previously abandoned grasslands which had been restored from 1999–2003 by clearing trees and shrubs, erecting fences, and re-introducing grazing animals. Under current management, 12 sites were cattle grazed, six were horse grazed, eight were sheep grazed and 10 had no grazing.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

  4. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A site comparison study of semi-natural grasslands near Lund, Sweden (Öckinger et al. 2006) found no significant difference in plant species richness or abundance in recently restored, abandoned or continuously grazed grasslands. There was a decrease of management-dependent plant species with increasing tree and shrub cover at abandoned sites. Present management significantly affected butterflies (Lepidoptera) and plants, their species richness increased with increasing vegetation height, but this differed between sites depending on whether they were grazed by cattle, horses or sheep. Sheep grazing negatively impacted species richness compared to cattle or horses. There were 12 grasslands of each type and current management comprised 12 sites cattle grazed, six horse grazed, eight sheep grazed and 10 with no grazing. Butterflies and burnet moths (Zygaenidae) were sampled using a transect count method (150 m/ha) six to seven times in May-August 2003 or June-August 2004. Plant presence was sampled in ten 0.25 m² quadrats (divided into twenty-five 10 x 10 cm squares) at each site in June-August 2004. Vegetation height was also measured.

     

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