Study

Restoration of butterfly and moth communities in semi-natural grasslands by cattle grazing

  • Published source details Poyry J., Lindgren S., Salminen J. & Kuussaari M. (2004) Restoration of butterfly and moth communities in semi-natural grasslands by cattle grazing. Ecological Applications, 14, 1656-1670.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore or create 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

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2004, same experimental set-up as Poyry et al. 2005) found that species-rich grasslands which farmers were paid to manage under agri-environment schemes (AES) had a lower abundance and species richness of butterflies and day-flying moths than abandoned, unmanaged grassland. The abundance of butterflies and moths was lower in both restored (126 individuals) and continuously grazed AES pastures (126 individuals) than in abandoned pastures not managed under AES (306 individuals). The number of species was also lower in restored pastures (22 species) than in abandoned pastures (33 species), but the number in continuously grazed pastures was intermediate (26 species). Butterflies and moths were monitored in 1999 or 2000 on 10 restored pastures where, after at least 10 years of abandonment, grazing had re-started 3–8 years before the study, 11 continuously grazed pastures, and 12 abandoned pastures which had not been grazed for at least 10 years. All restored and most continuously grazed pastures received support under the Finnish AES. All grazing was by cattle. Butterflies and day-flying moths were counted along transects four (1999) or seven (2000) times from May–August. Either searching time (1999) or transect length (2000) were standardized across sites.

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

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2004, same experimental set-up as 3) found that species-rich grasslands restored with cattle grazing had a lower abundance and species richness of butterflies and day-flying moths than abandoned (unrestored) grassland. The abundance of butterflies and moths was lower in both restored (126 individuals) and continuously grazed pastures (126 individuals) than in abandoned, unrestored pastures (306 individuals). The number of species was also lower in restored pastures (22 species) than in abandoned pastures (33 species), but the number in continuously grazed pastures was intermediate (26 species). Butterflies and moths were monitored in 1999 or 2000 on 10 restored pastures where, after at least 10 years of abandonment, grazing had re-started 3–8 years before the study, 12 abandoned pastures which had not been grazed for at least 10 years, and 11 continuously grazed pastures. All restored and most continuously grazed pastures received support under the Finnish agri-environment scheme. All grazing was by cattle. Butterflies and day-flying moths were counted along transects four (1999) or seven (2000) times from May–August. Either searching time (1999) or transect length (2000) were standardized across sites.

    (Summarised by: Andew Bladon)

  3. Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2004, same experimental set-up as 10) found that abandoned grasslands had a higher abundance of butterflies and day-flying moths than grazed pastures, but a similar species richness. The abundance of butterflies and moths was higher in abandoned pastures (306 individuals) than in both continuously grazed (126 individuals) and restored (126 individuals) pastures. The number of species was not significantly higher in abandoned pastures (33 species) than in continuously grazed pastures (26 species), but was higher than in restored pastures (22 species). Butterflies and moths were monitored in 1999 or 2000 on 12 abandoned pastures which had not been grazed for at least 10 years, 11 continuously grazed pastures, and 10 restored pastures where, after at least 10 years of abandonment, grazing had re-started 3–8 years before the study. All restored and most continuously grazed pastures received support under the Finnish agri-environment scheme. All grazing was by cattle. Butterflies and day-flying moths were counted along transects four (1999) or seven (2000) times from May–August. Either searching time (1999) or transect length (2000) were standardized across sites.

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

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

    A replicated site comparison study in 1999 and 2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2004) (same study as (Pykala 2003, Poyry et al. 2005, Pykala 2005)) found that abandoned species-rich grasslands restored with cattle grazing had similar butterfly and day-flying moth (Lepidoptera) numbers to old grazed pastures. The abundance of butterflies and moths, and the number of species, did not differ between grazed and restored pastures. There were 22-26 species and 126 individuals/site in restored and old grazed pastures. Restored pastures varied more in the identities of species found than old grazed pastures. Some restored pastures had less ‘diverse’ butterfly and moth communities than old pastures because they were more likely to be dominated by abundant, common species. Some species only occurred in old pastures. Butterflies and moths were monitored in 1999 or 2000 on 11 old grazed pastures and 10 restored pastures abandoned for more than 10 years, with grazing re-started three to eight years before the study. All restored pastures received support under the Finish agri-environment support scheme for managing semi-natural grassland. Insects were counted along walked transects between four and seven times between May and August. Either transect length (2000) or searching time (1999) were standardized across sites.

     

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