Study

Local and landscape drivers of butterfly richness and abundance in a human-dominated area

  • Published source details Luppi M., Dondina O., Orioli V. & Bani L. (2018) Local and landscape drivers of butterfly richness and abundance in a human-dominated area. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 254, 138-148.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce cutting frequency on grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2014–2015 in a mixed farming region in Lombardy, Italy (Luppi et al. 2018) found that meadows cut less frequently had a similar abundance and species richness of butterflies to more frequently cut meadows, but a lower abundance and species richness compared to uncut meadows. The abundance and species richness of butterflies were similar in meadows cut once, twice or three times/summer (data presented as model results). However, both the abundance and species richness of butterflies were lower on meadows which were cut at least once than on meadows left uncut (data presented as model results). See paper for details on individual species groups. In 2014 and 2015, meadows within an arable landscape were cut 0–3 times between April and September each year. From April–September 2014–2015, butterflies were surveyed along 44 transects, divided into 8–26 × 50-m sections. In 2014, thirty transects were surveyed once/month, and in 2015 fourteen different transects were surveyed twice/month. Only transect sections which passed through meadows were included (number not specified).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2014–2015 in 44 sites in a mixed farming region in Lombardy, Italy (Luppi et al. 2018) found that hedgerows which were kept between 1 and 2 m tall had a higher species richness of butterflies than shorter hedgerows, but that hedgerows less than 1 m tall had a higher abundance of butterflies than hedgerows over 2 m tall. The species richness of butterflies was higher on hedgerows which were 1–2 m tall than on hedgerows which were less than 1 m tall (data presented as model results). However, the abundance of butterflies was higher on hedgerows which were <1 m tall than on hedgerows which were >2 m tall (data presented as model results). See paper for details on individual species groups. Hedgerows were divided into four height categories (<1 m, 1–2 m, 2–3 m, >3 m). From April–September 2014–2015, butterflies were surveyed along 44 transects, divided into 8–26 × 50-m sections. In 2014, thirty transects were surveyed once/month, and in 2015 fourteen different transects were surveyed twice/month. Only transect sections along hedgerows were included (number not specified).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  3. Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2014–2015 in a mixed farming region in Lombardy, Italy (Luppi et al. 2018) found that meadows which were not cut had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than meadows which were cut. The abundance and species richness of butterflies in uncut meadows was higher than in meadows cut once, twice or three times/summer (data presented as model results). See paper for details on individual species groups. In 2014 and 2015, meadows within an arable landscape were cut 0–3 times between April and September each year. From April–September 2014–2015, butterflies were surveyed along 44 transects, divided into 8–26 × 50-m sections. In 2014, thirty transects were surveyed once/month, and in 2015 fourteen different transects were surveyed twice/month. Only transect sections which passed through meadows were included (number not specified).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  4. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2014–2015 in 44 sites in a mixed farming region in Lombardy, Italy (Luppi et al. 2018) found that grass margins wider than 3 m had a higher species richness of butterflies than narrower margins. The species richness of butterflies in grass margins which were more than 3 m wide was higher than in margins which were less than 1 m wide (data presented as model results). In addition, margins where the vegetation was higher than 15 cm had more species than margins with vegetation shorter than 15 cm (data presented as model results). See paper for details on individual species groups. Arable fields with grass margins were divided into three width categories (<1 m, 1–3 m, >3 m) and three height categories (<15 cm, 15–50 cm, >50 cm). From April–September 2014–2015, butterflies were surveyed along 44 transects, divided into 8–26 × 50-m sections. In 2014, thirty transects were surveyed once/month, and in 2015 fourteen different transects were surveyed twice/month. Only transect sections along field margins were included (number not specified).

    (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