Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera: from theory to practice. Dr Martin Warren Dr Nigel Bourn

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1 : from theory to practice Dr Martin Warren Dr Nigel Bourn

2 Decline of UK butterflies 5 sp. Extinct 71% sp declining c.45% sp threatened Declining more rapidly than birds or plants (Thomas et al., 2005 Science)

3 Decline of UK moths Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera 70 sp extinct in last 100 yrs 69% common sp. declining 152 sp. threatened (inc. 71 common sp.)

4 Habitat loss in last 50 years 97 % loss of flower-rich grassland 80 % loss of chalk & limestone grassland 50 % loss of ancient broad-leaved woodland 40 % loss of lowland heathland

5 Grassland fragments, England =3% land area Two main problems to species survival: Fragmentation/isolation Habitat management

6 Landscape scale projects Butterfly Conservation (UK) 67 landscape projects Targeted at key areas for threatened species Most sites identified through Regional Action Plans Funded by government agencies and grants Involve large partnerships Level of involvement varies Budget = 1 million

7 Environmental Stewardship Agri-environment scheme in England Grants to farmers for managing land 5 objectives: Biodiversity Landscape Access Resource protection Historic environment Two elements Entry level scheme Higher Level Scheme Budget = 400 million pa

8 Entry Level Stewardship Reduced hedge cutting 2m uncut field margins 6m margins 40/ha 60% farmland

9 Higher Level Stewardship Capital grants for fencing, scrub clearance etc Threatened species targeted inc butterflies and moths Payments: 200 / ha semi-natural grassland 450 / ha habitat restoration 10% land by 2011

10 Re-connecting the Culm: Highly fragmented landscape 92% loss Euphydryas aurinia Molinia-juncus community Hamearis tityus Mythimna turca Coenagrion mercuriale

11 Re-connecting the Culm: Identifying priorities: Map sites onto habitat Add 5 and 10km buffers Identify priority areas

12 Re-connecting the Culm: successes >750 landowners 37 ES agreements 782 ha Culm better managed 111 ha restored linking sites

13 Bursdon Moor: Habitat loss

14 Bursdon Moor: Habitat loss Forestry Plantation

15 Forest design plan corridor habitats

16 Two Moors Project Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera More intact landscape abandonment main problem Exmoor Dartmoor

17 Two Moors project Target areas Exmoor Dartmoor Eurodryas aurinia Mellicta athalia Argynnis adippe

18 Two Moors successes Before After > 85 Fritillary sites visited 20 HLS agreements Management advice > 1000 ha Habitat restoration work > 750 ha

19 Tor Valley system: 58 ha Wet grassland with 3 Priority invertebrate sp. Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera Eurodryas aurinia Hamearis tityus Coenagrion mercuriale

20 Princethorpe landscape Erynnis tages Pyrgus malvae

21 Princethorpe landscape Areas targeted for restoration Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera

22 Princethorpe - restoration

23 Lessons from landscapes so far Good agri-environment schemes essential Good advisers essential + with time for repeat visits to build relationships with owners Owners very receptive (mainly) Careful targeting essential to maximise benefits where it matters most Good spatial data essential: sp. + habitats Local enthusiasm and publicity essential

24 How do we identify priority landscapes? Species richness Habitat specialists Biodiversity Action Plan - Priority Sp.

25 Identifying priority landscapes Moilanen et al. (2005). Proc.R.Soc.B. 272: Zonation priorities Key: Red: Top 5% Orange: 10% Yellow: 10-20% Light blue: 20-40% Blue: % Combines connectivity with species richness

26 Identifying priority landscapes Moilanen et al. (2005). Proc.R.Soc.B. 272: Zonation priorities Key: Red: Top 5% Orange: 10% Yellow: 10-20% Light blue: 20-40% Blue: % Top 20 landscapes Patches < 10km apart Retains core areas for each species Combines connectivity with species richness

27 Modelled vs current landscapes Top 10% Highland Perthshire Kielder Forest + mires?? South Snowdonia Cotswolds + Forest of Dean Bardney Forest Chilterns Wealden Woods

28 HLS targeting 1. Map priorities using the best available evidence Linking landscapes Composite for Lepidoptera map of high priority areas Red = High Yellow=Medium Green = Low 2. Differentiate Single Interest high priorities 3. Identify target areas (4 primary objective maps represented)

29 HLS target areas vs modelled HLS target areas Top 20 modelled areas (Moilanen et al, 2005)

30 Will ES help biodiversity + reverse fragmentation? Will be a huge advance but budget limited Targeting exercise identifies 30% land HLS will cover only 10% land! ELS seems to be having limited value Funds need to be switched to HLS ELS needs to be improved to enhance matrix Targeted advice needed to conserve Lepidoptera Butterflies can help monitor success

31 Will it work? Euphydryas aurinia in Dorset Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera Agri-environment scheme introduced 1993 with special cattle grazing supplement

32 No. colonies Log Index Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera E. aurinia in Dorset Start of scheme No. colonies increasing after decline in 1980s Populations increasing compared to sites elsewhere in UK

33 Prime Butterfly Areas of Europe

34 Acknowledgements Butterfly Conservation staff and volunteers Funders: agencies, trusts and donors Partners in landscape projects Owners and managers

35 An invitation. Linking landscapes for Lepidoptera 6 th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM Reading March 2010

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