Grassland butterfly fauna under traditional animal husbandry: contrasts in diversity in mown meadows and grazed pastures

  • Published source details Saarinen K. & Jantunen J. (2005) Grassland butterfly fauna under traditional animal husbandry: contrasts in diversity in mown meadows and grazed pastures. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14, 3201-3213.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A site comparison study of 12 pastures and meadows (4 ha) in northwest Russia and four in Finland (Saarinen & Jantunen 2005) found that butterfly (Lepidoptera) species richness, diversity and total abundance did not differ significantly between mown meadows and grazed pastures, although meadows were preferred by more species (46 vs 42). A total of 3,660 individuals were recorded in the meadows and 2,082 in pastures. Butterfly communities were affected more by the origin and age of the grassland than the present management method. Landscape factors such as surrounding habitat, abundance of nectar plants and intensity of tilling were the most important factors differentiating older grasslands from the younger ones. Meadows were mown annually in late July or August and pastures were grazed by cattle, some with sheep or horses temporarily. Tilling and fertilization (manure) tended to occur at intervals of 3-10 years. Butterflies were sampled 11-13 times along transects (640-720 m) in June and July 1997-1999.


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