Restore or create heathland/shrubland

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

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of restoring or creating heathland or shrubland. This study was in the UK.


  • Community composition (1 study): One replicated, paired, site comparison study in the UK found that the moth community on restored moorland was more similar to that on established heather moorland than on degraded moorland.





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, paired, site comparison study in 2003 on eight moorlands in northern England and Scotland, UK (Littlewood et al. 2006) found that the moth community on restored moorland was more similar to that on established heather moorland than on degraded moorland. Compared to degraded moorland (0%) and established heather moorland (100%), restored moorland sites had moth communities that were 54–95% similar to established sites 6–13 years after restoration commenced. Sites restored by grazing exclusion were 63–95% similar to established sites 6–13 years after restoration, while sites restored by herbicide application and re-seeding were 54–75% similar to established sites 8–11 years after restoration (statistical significance not assessed). Restoration of eight moors commenced from 1990–1997. On four moors, restoration was conducted by grazing exclusion. At the other four moors, herbicide application and reseeding was used, sometimes with burning of dead vegetation and scarification of the ground. On each moor, 18 sample locations were established over 1–4 km: six each in restored sites (recreated dominance of heather Calluna vulgaris), degraded sites (acid grassland dominated by purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea or matgrass Nardus stricta), and established heather moorland. On 44 nights from June–September 2003, moths were caught in 2–3 Skinner light traps/night in different habitats, and identified to species at dawn.

    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.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

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