The importance of vegetation height and flower abundance for Swedish butterfly species in semi-natural grasslands

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologiTekniska högskolan

Abstract:

Changed management of semi-natural grasslands is thought to be one important factor for explaining the decline of butterfly populations in Sweden and the rest of Europe. This study explores how vegetation height, variation in vegetation height and flower abundance can help predict the occurrence of butterfly species in semi-natural grasslands in southern Sweden. My study is based on data collected by a national environmental monitoring programme (NILS) during 2006-2010. Generalized linear models showed that all three explanatory variables significantly affected 26 of the 41 species of butterflies studied. The study also investigated preferences for three different systems for grouping species but did not find differences among groups. Several of the species would most likely benefit from variation in grazing pressure or rotational grazing as well as flower-rich grasslands. The results may also help when aiming management at the preservation of individual species.

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