The role of power line rights-of-way as an alternative habitat for declined mire butterflies

  • Published source details Lensu T., Komonen A., Hiltula O., Päivinen J., Saari V. & Kotiaho J.S. (2011) The role of power line rights-of-way as an alternative habitat for declined mire butterflies. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 2539-2546.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage land under power lines for butterflies and moths

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Manage land under power lines for butterflies and moths

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2004–2006 in 15 drained pine mires under a power line in central Finland (Lensu et al. 2011, same experimental set-up as Komonen et al. 2013) found that land under power lines managed by mechanical cutting had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than nearby unmanaged land, and was similar to natural mires. In managed land under power lines, the abundance and species richness of both butterflies which depend on mires (abundance: 13–56 individuals/transect; richness: 4–5 species/transect) and other butterflies (abundance: 14–284 individuals/transect; richness: 6–9 species/transect), were higher than in nearby unmanaged areas (mire species: 3–8 individuals/transect, 1–2 species/transect; others: 4–50 individuals/transect, 3–4 species/transect). The abundance and species richness under power lines was also similar to natural mires (mire species: 17–43 individuals/transect, 3–5 species/transect; others: 18–107 individuals/transect, 4–5 species/transect). For 50 years, vegetation was cut every six years to maintain open, treeless habitat on drained mires under a 65-m-wide powerline, but was unmanaged next to the power line where forest developed. From June–August 2004 and June–July 2006, butterflies were surveyed every 5–10 days on paired 250-m transects within and 70 m outside the power line at 15 sites (1.5–4 ha, 0.5–18 km apart). Butterflies were also surveyed at five 2–6 ha undrained mires, 0.5–2 km from the drained mires. Butterflies which feed on plants that predominantly grow in mires were classified as mire-dependent species.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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