Study

Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly – A fine-scale experiment

  • Published source details Kőrösi A., Szentirmai I., Batáry P., Kövér S., Örvössy N. & Peregovits L. (2014) Effects of timing and frequency of mowing on the threatened scarce large blue butterfly – A fine-scale experiment. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 196, 24-33.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce cutting frequency on grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

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

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Reduce cutting frequency on grassland

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2007–2010 in four meadows in Őrség National Park, Hungary (Kőrösi et al. 2014) found that grassland mown once/year had a similar abundance of scarce large blue butterflies Phengaris teleius to grassland mown twice/year, but a higher abundance than abandoned, unmown plots. Three years after management began, the number of scarce large blue butterflies in plots mown once/year in May (0.86 individuals/plot/day) or September (0.94 individuals/plot/day) was similar to the number in plots mown twice/year (0.70 individuals/plot/day). All mown plots had more butterflies than abandoned plots (0.28 individuals/plot/day). In May 2007, four meadows were each divided into four equal-size plots, and one of four management regimes was randomly applied to each plot. Three plots/meadow were mown for four years, either once/year in May, once/year in September, or twice/year in May and September, all with cuttings removed. The fourth plot in each meadow was abandoned (not mown). In July 2007 and 2010, butterflies were surveyed for five minutes, 15–20 times/year, in each of three or four 20 × 20 m squares/plot.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2007–2010 in four meadows in Őrség National Park, Hungary (Kőrösi et al. 2014) found that grassland mown in September had a similar abundance of scarce large blue butterflies Phengaris teleius to grassland mown in May, and that numbers decreased in May-mown grassland but remained stable in September-mown grassland. Three years after management began, the number of scarce large blue butterflies in plots mown in September (0.94 individuals/plot/day) was similar to the number in plots mown in May (0.86 individuals/plot/day). However, the number of butterflies in September-mown plots was similar to the first year of management (1.21 individuals/plot/day), whereas the number in May-mown plots was higher in the first year of management (1.64 individuals/plot/day). In May 2007, four meadows were each divided into two equal-size plots, and one of two management regimes was randomly applied to each plot. For four years, one plot/meadow was mown annually in May and the other was mown annually in September, all with cuttings removed. In July 2007 and 2010, butterflies were surveyed for five minutes, 15–20 times/year, in each of three or four 20 × 20 m squares/plot.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  3. Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2007–2010 in four meadows in Őrség National Park, Hungary (Kőrösi et al. 2014) found that abandoned grassland had fewer scarce large blue butterflies Phengaris teleius than mown grassland. Three years after abandonment, the number of scarce large blue butterflies in abandoned plots (0.28 individuals/plot/day) was lower than in plots mown once/year (0.86–0.94 individuals/plot/day) or twice/year (0.70 individuals/plot/day). In May 2007, four meadows were each divided into four equal-size plots, and one of four management regimes was randomly applied to each plot. Three plots/meadow were mown for four years, either once/year in May, once/year in September, or twice/year in May and September, all with cuttings removed. The fourth plot in each meadow was abandoned (not mown). In July 2007 and 2010, butterflies were surveyed for five minutes, 15–20 times/year, in each of three or four 20 × 20 m squares/plot.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

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.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust