Community composition of butterflies and bumblebees in fallows: Niche breadth and dispersal capacity modify responses to fallow type and landscape

  • Published source details Toivonen M., Herzon I. & Kuussaari M. (2016) Community composition of butterflies and bumblebees in fallows: Niche breadth and dispersal capacity modify responses to fallow type and landscape. Journal of Insect Conservation, 20, 23-34.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore arable land to permanent grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Restore arable land to permanent grassland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2013 in 40 grasslands in southern Finland (Toivonen et al. 2016, same experimental set-up as Toivonen et al. 2015) found that long-term restored grassland fallows had more specialist butterflies than recently established meadow fallows. In ≥8-year-old grasslands, the relative abundance of habitat specialist butterflies was higher than in 3–4-year-old meadows (data presented as model results). Four species (large skipper Ochlodes sylvanus, Essex skipper Thymelicus lineola, lesser marbled fritillary Brenthis ino, mazarine blue Polyommatus semiargus) were strongly associated with ≥8-year-old grasslands, while no species was strongly associated with 3–4-year-old meadows. Forty fallow grasslands (0.3–5.8 ha) established under the Finnish Environmental Fallow agri-environment scheme were selected. Twenty long-term grassland fallows (≥8 years old) were either former set-aside areas or production grasslands, originally established by sowing conventional, competitive, perennial grassland mixtures. Twenty short-term meadow fallows (3–4 years old) were established by sowing low competitive meadow plants (see paper for details). All sites were mown at least every three years, and no pesticides or fertilizers were applied. From June–July 2013, butterflies were surveyed four times (two weeks apart) along a 200-m transect in each fallow.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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