Moorland restoration aids the reassembly of associated phytophagous insects

  • Published source details Littlewood N.A., Dennis P., Pakeman R.J. & Woodin S.J. (2006) Moorland restoration aids the reassembly of associated phytophagous insects. Biological Conservation, 132, 395-404.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create heathland/shrubland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Restore or create heathland/shrubland

    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.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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