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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Experimental bracken Pteridium aquilinum control to restore habitat for the heath fritillary Mellicta athalia at Bin Combe, Holnicote Estate, Somerset, England

Published source details

Camp P. (2006) Experimental bracken Pteridium aquilinum control to restore habitat for the heath fritillary Mellicta athalia at Bin Combe, Holnicote Estate, Somerset, England. Conservation Evidence, 3, 64-67

Summary

A core heath fritillary Mellicta athalia breeding site had become dominated by bracken Pteridium aquilinum. Following bracken control by burning and herbicide spraying there was a considerable increase in common cow wheat Melampyrum pratense (the larval food plant) and a 10-fold increase in fritillary numbers. There had also been grazing and trampling by red deer Cervus elaphus, which might have also improved the habitat quality. Two other burnt and sprayed areas did not show an increase in butterfly numbers, perhaps because at higher elevation and therefore constituting less suitable habitat.