Study

Effects of management on butterfly abundance in tallgrass prairie and pine barrens

  • Published source details Swengel A.B. (1998) Effects of management on butterfly abundance in tallgrass prairie and pine barrens. Biological Conservation, 83, 77-89.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use rotational burning

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Use rotational burning

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1986–1995 in 104 tallgrass prairies and 141 pine barrens in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin, USA (Swengel 1998, same experimental set-up as Swengel & Swengel 1997 and 2001) found that rotationally burned grasslands or barrens had a higher abundance of two of 16 specialist butterfly species, but a lower abundance of seven specialist species, than either unmanaged sites or sites managed by grazing or mowing. Of 16 prairie or pine barren specialist butterfly species, two (ottoe skipper Hesperia ottoe and dusted skipper Atrytonopsis hianna) were more abundant in sites managed by rotational burning than grazed, mown or unmanaged sites. Seven species were less abundant in rotationally burned sites than in sites managed by haying (Dakota skipper Hesperia dacotae, pawnee skipper Hesperia leonardus pawnee), mowing (Persius duskywing Erynnis persius), cutting (cobweb skipper Hesperia metea), grazing and haying (arogos skipper Atrytone arogos, regal fritillary Speyeria idalia), or unmanaged sites (arogos skipper Atrytone arogos, Poweshiek skipper Oarisma poweshiek). Seven species had similar abundance between management types. See paper for individual species data. Of 104 prairies (1–2,024 ha), 61 were managed by cool-season burning on a 2–5-year rotation, of which 21 were additionally mown or hayed; 27 were hayed in summer on a 1–2-year rotation, of which two were also grazed occasionally with cattle; 10 were grazed; and six had not been managed for many years. Of 141 pine barrens, some were burned by wildfires, some were used for off-road vehicle trails, and some were power line rights-of-way (no further detail provided). From April–September 1986–1995, butterflies were surveyed on transects at each site. Most sites were surveyed more than once/year, and in >1 year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1986–1995 in 104 tallgrass prairies and 141 pine barrens in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin, USA (Swengel 1998, same experimental set-up as 4) found that abandoned grasslands had a higher abundance of two of 16 specialist butterfly species, but a lower abundance of seven specialist species, than grasslands managed by mowing, grazing or burning. Of 16 prairie or pine barren specialist butterfly species, two (arogos skipper Atrytone arogos, Poweshiek skipper Oarisma poweshiek) were more abundant in abandoned, unmanaged sites than in sites managed by haying or rotational burning. However, seven species were less abundant in abandoned sites than in sites managed by haying (Dakota skipper Hesperia dacotae, pawnee skipper Hesperia leonardus pawnee), mowing (Persius duskywing Erynnis persius), cutting (cobweb skipper Hesperia metea), grazing and haying (regal fritillary Speyeria idalia) or rotational burning (ottoe skipper Hesperia ottoe and dusted skipper Atrytonopsis hianna). Seven species had similar abundance between management types. See paper for individual species data. Of 104 prairies (1–2,024 ha), six had not been managed for many years (abandoned), 61 were managed by cool-season burning on a 2–5-year rotation, of which 21 were additionally mown or hayed; 27 were hayed in summer on a 1–2-year rotation, of which two were also grazed occasionally with cattle and 10 were grazed. Of 141 pine barrens, some were burned by wildfires, some were used for off-road vehicle trails, and some were power line rights-of-way (no further detail provided). From April–September 1986–1995, butterflies were surveyed on transects at each site. Most sites were surveyed more than once/year, and in >1 year

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  3. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1986–1995 in 104 tallgrass prairies and 141 pine barrens in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin, USA (Swengel 1998, same experimental set-up as Swengel & Swengel 1997 and 2001) found that hayed, mown, cut or grazed grasslands had a higher abundance of six of 16 specialist butterfly species, but a lower abundance of three specialist species, than burned or unmanaged grasslands. Of 16 prairie or pine barren specialist butterfly species, five were more abundant in sites managed by haying (Dakota skipper Hesperia dacotae, pawnee skipper Hesperia leonardus pawnee), mowing (Persius duskywing Erynnis persius), cutting (cobweb skipper Hesperia metea) or grazing and haying (regal fritillary Speyeria idalia), than burned or unmanaged sites. Arogos skipper Atrytone arogos was most abundant in grazed and hayed, or unmanaged, sites. Poweshiek skipper Oarisma poweshiek was less abundant in sites managed by haying than in unmanaged sites, and Ottoe skipper Hesperia ottoe and dusted skipper Atrytonopsis hianna were less abundant in sites managed by grazing or mowing than in rotationally burned sites. See paper for individual species data. Seven species had similar abundance between management types (see paper for details). Of 104 prairies (1–2,024 ha), 27 were hayed in summer on a 1–2-year rotation, of which two were also grazed occasionally with cattle; 10 were grazed; 61 were managed by cool-season burning on a 2–5-year rotation, of which 21 were additionally mown or hayed; and six had not been managed for many years. Of 141 pine barrens, some were burned by wildfires, some were used for off-road vehicle trails, and some were power line rights-of-way (no further detail provided). From April–September 1986–1995, butterflies were surveyed on transects at each site. Most sites were surveyed more than once/year, and in >1 year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  4. Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1987–1995 in 16 tallgrass prairies in the upper Midwest, USA (Swengel 1998, same experimental set-up as 4 and 8) found that abandoned prairies had a higher abundance of five of 16 specialist butterfly species, but a lower abundance of four specialist species, than prairies managed by grazing. Of 16 prairie specialist butterfly species, five were more abundant in abandoned, unmanaged prairies than in grazed prairies, but four were less abundant in abandoned prairies than in grazed prairies. Two species were more abundant in abandoned prairies in one region, but less abundant in abandoned prairies in a second region. Five species had similar abundance in abandoned and grazed prairies. See paper for individual species data. Six prairies (including one previously grazed site in Wisconsin, locations and sizes not given) had not been managed for many years (abandoned). Nine prairies (259–2,024 ha) in Sheyenne National Grassland, North Dakota, and one prairie in Wisconsin, were managed by grazing. From April–September 1987–1995, butterflies were surveyed on transects at each site. Most sites were surveyed more than once/year, and in >1 year.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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