Ecological Compensation Area meadows in Swiss Plateau region do not consistently support more butterfly species than conventional grasslands

  • Published source details Aviron S., Jeanneret P., Schupbach B. & Schüpbach B. (2007) Effects of agri-environmental measures, site and landscape conditions on butterfly diversity of Swiss grassland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 122, 295-304


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once)

    A site comparison study from 1998 to 2004 in two areas of the Swiss Plateau region (Aviron et al. 2007) found significantly more species of butterfly (Lepidoptera) on Ecological Compensation Area grassland than conventional grassland in one of the two areas. In Nuvilly, there was an average of 12 species on Ecological Compensation Area grasslands and 11 species on conventional grasslands. In Ruswil, there was an average of 3.4 species on Ecological Compensation Area grasslands and 2.6 species on conventional grasslands. When other factors such as number of plant species, coverage of woody plants or distance to forest were taken into account, this difference was only statistically significant in Ruswil, and not in Nuvilly. Ecological Compensation Area sites tended to have more ‘specialist’ species - those with only one generation per year, poor dispersal ability or larvae that eat only one type of plant. There were 20-22 Ecological Compensation Area meadows and 6-16 conventional grasslands. The conventional grasslands were fertilized with an average of 206 kg N/ha and cut on average three times each year. The Ecological Compensation Area grasslands were fertilized with an average of 7 kg N/ha and cut on average twice a year.


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