Study

Habitat management for the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis): Evaluating the short-term consequences

  • Published source details King R.S. (2003) Habitat management for the Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis): Evaluating the short-term consequences. Ecological Restoration, 21, 101-106.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change mowing regime on grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Change season/timing of prescribed burning

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Change mowing regime on grassland

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1993–1997 in nine oak savannas in Wisconsin, USA (King 2003) found that mowing grasslands in summer did not increase Karner blue butterfly Lycaeides melissa samuelis abundance compared to either burned or unmanaged grasslands. On three summer mown grasslands, the density of Karner blue (46–111 individuals/ha) was similar to three summer burned (36–213 individuals/ha) and three unmanaged (43–119 individuals/ha) grasslands. Nine restored oak savannas were burned on average every 3.5 years for 19–33 years prior to 1993. In winter 1993–1994, woody vegetation was removed with chainsaws on three grasslands, and these sites were then cut with a rotary mower in August 1994. In July 1994, three grasslands were burned. Three control grasslands received no mowing or burning. In July–August 1993–1997, butterflies were surveyed three times/grassland/year (>7 days apart) along transects placed 15 m apart.

    (Summarised by: Andew Bladon)

  2. Change season/timing of prescribed burning

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1993–1997 in 15 oak savannas in Wisconsin, USA (King 2003) found that burning grassland in summer or autumn did not increase Karner blue butterfly Lycaeides melissa samuelis abundance compared to either unmanaged or mown grasslands. The density of Karner blue was similar on both summer burned (31–186 individuals/ha) and paired, unburned (35–101 individuals/ha) grasslands, and on autumn burned (22–478 individuals/ha) and paired, unburned (14–179 individuals/ha) grasslands. Karner blue density was also similar on three summer burned (36–213 individuals/ha), three summer mown (46–111 individuals/ha) and three unmanaged (43–119 individuals/ha) grasslands. Fifteen restored oak savannas were burned on average every 3.5 years for 19–33 years prior to 1993. In 1994, four grasslands (1–11 ha) were summer burned in July and two grasslands (0.5–19.2 ha) were autumn burned in November. In winter 1993–1994, woody vegetation was removed with chainsaws on three additional grasslands, and these sites were then cut with a rotary mower in August 1994. Six control grasslands received no burning or mowing. In July–August 1993–1997, butterflies were surveyed three times/grassland/year (>7 days apart) along transects placed 15 m apart.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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