The significance of restored flower-rich hay meadows on set-aside land for butterflies and grasshoppers

  • Published source details Bosshard A. & Kuster D. (2001) The significance of restored flower-rich hay meadows on set-aside land for butterflies and grasshoppers. Agrarforschung, 8, 252-257.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore arable land to permanent grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore arable land to permanent grassland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999 on three mixed farms in central Switzerland (Bosshard & Kuster 2001) reported that 4–5-year-old flower-rich meadows created on set-aside land had a higher species richness of butterflies and burnet moths than intensively managed meadows, pasture or arable land, and similar species richness to traditionally managed meadows. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Recently created meadows had approximately 14 species of butterflies and burnet moths, compared to 5–7 species in intensively managed meadows or pasture, 10–12 species on traditional meadows, and 1 species in arable fields (data presented for only one farm). Authors reported that adult butterfly abundance was positively correlated with the number of flowers, and up to 98% of flower visits were recorded on only five plant species. In 1994–1995, species-rich grassland was created across 2–6% of the farmed area on three mixed farms (10–25 ha). From May–September 1999, butterflies were surveyed seven times along fixed 10-m-long transects through each habitat type on each farm.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

  2. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated study in 1995-2000 in 11 sites with newly created flower-rich meadows on set-aside land in central Switzerland (Bosshard & Kuster 2001) found generally higher butterfly (Lepidoptera) densities on the created meadows (e.g. 170 individuals/ha in Riedikon) than on intensively managed arable land. However, the highest densities were found in flower-rich field margins (e.g. 440 individuals/ha in Seewadel). Adult butterfly abundance was positively correlated to the number of flower units, and up to 98% of flower visits were recorded on only five plant species. Note that no statistical analyses are presented in this study. On three main sites (Berg, Riedikon and Seewadel), flower-rich meadows were established on 0.5-0.6 ha experimental plots. Butterflies were recorded during seven visits from May-September 1999 along fixed transects. In an additional eight sites, butterflies and grasshoppers (Orthoptera) were monitored in 1995-2000 approximately twice a year.


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