Study

Responses of butterfly and moth species to restored cattle grazing in semi-natural grasslands

  • Published source details Poyry J., Lindgren S., Salminen J. & Kuussaari M. (2005) Responses of butterfly and moth species to restored cattle grazing in semi-natural grasslands. Biological Conservation, 122, 465-478.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

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

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2005, same experimental set-up as 2) found that 13 of 32 butterfly and day-flying moth species were less abundant in restored semi-natural grassland than in abandoned (unrestored) grassland. Thirteen out of 32 species of butterfly and day-flying moth were less abundant in restored grassland than in abandoned, unrestored grassland, and a further three species were less abundant in restored grassland than in continuously grazed grassland. Three species were more abundant in restored or abandoned grassland than in continuously grazed grassland. The remaining 13 species had similar abundance in all three grassland types (see paper for data on individual species). Butterflies and day-flying 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: Andrew Bladon)

  2. 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. 2005, same experimental set-up as Poyry et al. 2004) found that 11 of 32 butterfly and day-flying moth species were less abundant in species-rich grasslands which farmers were paid to manage under agri-environment schemes (AES) than in abandoned, unmanaged grassland. Eleven out of 32 species of butterfly and day-flying moth were less abundant in AES grassland than in abandoned grassland. However, three species were more abundant in continuously grazed AES grassland than in restored AES grassland or abandoned grassland. Five species had lower abundance in either restored or continuously grazed grassland than in the other two habitats. The remaining 13 species had similar abundance in all three grassland types (see paper for data on individual species). Butterflies and day-flying 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)

  3. Cease grazing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2000 in southwest Finland (Poyry et al. 2005, same experimental set-up as 9) found that 14 of 32 butterfly and day-flying moth species were more abundant in abandoned grassland than in grazed, semi-natural pasture. Fourteen out of 32 species of butterfly and day-flying moth were more abundant in abandoned grassland than in either continuously grazed or restored pasture, but three species were less abundant in abandoned grassland than in continuously grazed pasture. A further two species were more abundant in both abandoned grassland and continuously grazed pasture than in restored grassland. The remaining 13 species had similar abundance in all three grassland types (see paper for data on individual species). Butterflies and day-flying 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 further report (Poyry et al. 2005) from the same replicated site comparison study in southwest Finland as (Pykala 2003, Poyry et al. 2004, Pykala 2005) looking at the responses of individual butterfly and moth (Lepidoptera) species showed that three species were most abundant in old pastures and did not recover in pastures where grazing had been reintroduced following abandonment. These were the purple-edged copper Lycaena hippothoe, the common blue Polyommatus icarus and the yellow shell moth Camptogramma bilineatum. Three moth species were more abundant in restored pastures than old pastures: Epirrhoe hastulata (no common name), the silver-ground carpet Xanthorhoe montanata and the latticed heath Chiasmia clathrata. Two species, the scarce copper butterfly Lycaena virgaureae and the black-veined moth Siona lineata were less abundant in restored pastures than in old grazed pastures or abandoned pastures (12 pastures abandoned for more than 10 years were monitored for comparison), implying that they were negatively affected by the reintroduction of grazing.

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