Management effects on butterfly and bumblebee abundance in Swedish semi-natural grasslands

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


The amount of semi-natural grasslands has decreased in the agricultural landscape and because of this many grassland species are declining. Semi-natural grasslands are dependent on management, but different studies suggest that different management methods are most favorable to species richness and abundance. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of mowing and grazing on butterfly and bumblebee abundance in Swedish semi-natural grasslands. We used data collected through the Swedish environmental monitoring program NILS. We identified 31 comparable meadows and chose 1-10 pastures in the area surrounding each meadow. For six different species groups we calculated the number of individuals found per 100 m. By standardizing the values of the difference between the means for meadows and pastures we were able to compare the effects of the two methods on abundance in each species group. No species group showed a preference for pastures. A significant preference for meadows was found for two butterfly species groups. The four other groups showed a trend to prefer meadows before pastures. According to our study the recommended management method should be mowing, considering protection of butterflies and bumblebees.

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