Study

Pluralism in grassland management promotes butterfly diversity in a large Central European conservation area

  • Published source details Fiedler K., Wrbka T. & Dullinger S. (2017) Pluralism in grassland management promotes butterfly diversity in a large Central European conservation area. Journal of Insect Conservation, 21, 277-285.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Delay cutting or first grazing date on grasslands to create variation in sward height

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Delay cutting or first grazing date on grasslands to create variation in sward height

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2013–2015 in 45 semi-natural grasslands in eastern Austria (Fiedler et al. 2017) found that grasslands managed by early mowing and former vineyards managed by late mowing had distinct butterfly and day-flying moth communities. Butterfly and day-flying moth communities in semi-natural grasslands managed by early mowing were different to those in grasslands (former vineyards) managed by late mowing, and both were different to communities in grasslands managed by extensive grazing (data presented as model results). In addition, some species showed a preference for sites that were early-mown (marbled white Melanargia galathea, meadow brown Maniola jurtina), late-mown (short-tailed blue Cupido argiades) or grazed (crepuscular burnet Zygaena carniolica, transparent burnet Zygaena purpuralis/minos). The use of all three grassland management regimes (early mowing, late mowing and grazing) in different parts of the landscape increased butterfly diversity across the landscape (data presented as model results). Semi-natural grasslands managed in three ways were studied: meadows mown once/year in early summer with cuttings removed, former vineyards mown once/year in late summer with cuttings not removed, and extensive pastures grazed by cattle from April–October. In June 2013–2015, all butterflies, burnet moths (Zygaenidae) and hummingbird hawk-moths Macroglossum stellatarum were counted once on 9–11 sites/year (50 × 50 m) under each management type.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2013–2015 in 45 semi-natural grasslands in eastern Austria (Fiedler et al. 2017) found that grasslands managed by grazing, early mowing and late mowing had distinct butterfly and day-flying moth communities. Butterfly and day-flying moth communities in semi-natural grasslands managed by extensive grazing were different to communities in early-mown and late-mown meadows (data presented as model results). In addition, some species showed a preference for sites that were grazed (crepuscular burnet Zygaena carniolica, transparent burnet Zygaena purpuralis/minos), early-mown (marbled white Melanargia galathea, meadow brown Maniola jurtina) or late-mown (short-tailed blue Cupido argiades). The use of all three grassland management regimes (grazing, early mowing and late mowing) in different parts of the landscape increased butterfly diversity across the landscape (data presented as model results). Semi-natural grasslands managed in three ways were studied: extensive pastures grazed by cattle from April–October, meadows mown once/year in early summer with cuttings removed, and former vineyards mown once/year in late summer with cuttings not removed. In June 2013–2015, all butterflies, burnet moths (Zygaenidae) and hummingbird hawk-moths Macroglossum stellatarum were counted once on 9–11 sites/year (50 × 50 m) under each management type.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

Output references
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