Manage woodland edges for maximum habitat heterogeneity

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of managing woodland edges for maximum habitat heterogeneity. One study was in Belgium and the other was in Finland.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in Finland found that two years after felling 5-m-wide woodland edges, and thinning 20-m-wide adjacent forest, the combined species richness of butterflies, diurnal moths and bumblebees was higher than before management or in unmanaged woodland edges.

POPULATION RESPONSE (2 STUDIES)

  • Abundance (2 studies): One replicated, site comparison study in Belgium found that scalloped woodland edges had a higher abundance of brown hairstreak eggs than straight woodland edges. One replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in Finland found that two years after felling 5-m-wide woodland edges and thinning 20-m-wide adjacent forest, the abundance of specialist butterflies was higher than before management or on unmanaged woodland edges.

BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)

 

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, site comparison study in 2001–2005 in 63 woodland edges and hedgerows in an agricultural landscape in Flanders, Belgium (Merckx & Berwaerts 2010) found that scalloped woodland edges contained more brown hairstreak Thecla betulae eggs than woodland edges with straight borders. There were more brown hairstreak eggs on blackthorn Prunus spinosa bushes in scalloped woodland edges than in straight woodland edges (data presented as model results). Woodland edges and hedgerows (1–250 m long, 2,260 m total) containing blackthorn were divided into 10-m sections (335 woodland sections), and categorized as “scalloped”, “oval”, “boxed” or “with gaps” (exact descriptions not provided). Each winter from 2001–2005, all blackthorn bushes were systematically searched for brown hairstreak eggs.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2009–2011 in 15 coniferous forest stands in Vihti and Jokioinen, Finland (Korpela et al. 2015) found that felling trees at the woodland edge, in addition to thinning the adjacent woodland, increased the abundance of specialist butterflies and the total species richness of butterflies, moths and bumblebees (Bombus spp.) combined. Two years after felling and thinning, the abundance of specialist butterflies (3.5 individuals/plot), and the total species richness of butterflies, moths and bumblebees (10.7 species/plot), were higher in felled forest edges than in forest edges which had not been felled (butterfly abundance: 0.5 individuals/plot; total richness: 3.6 species/plot). Prior to felling, both butterfly abundance and total species richness were similar in the plots designated for felling (butterfly abundance: 0.5 individuals/plot; total richness: 6.4 species/plot) and no felling plots (butterfly abundance: 0.7 individuals/plot; total richness: 6.2 species/plot). In winter 2009–2010, in each of 15 forest stands, a 50-m-long forest edge was logged. Logging comprised felling a 5-m-wide strip at the forest edge, and behind that a 20-m-wide belt was thinned to a basal area of 8 m2/ha. Trunks were removed, but other debris was left on the ground. A second 50 × 25 m area at each site, within 8–61 m of the logged area, was left unlogged. From late May–August 2009–2011, butterflies, diurnal moths and bumblebees were surveyed seven times/year in each logged and unlogged area, at two-week intervals.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Bladon A.J., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2022) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

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