Effects of management cessation on grassland butterflies in southern Poland

  • Published source details Skórka P., Settele J. & Woyciechowski M. (2007) Effects of management cessation on grassland butterflies in southern Poland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 121, 319-324.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Cease mowing on grassland to allow early succession

    A replicated, site comparison study (years not stated) in 15 grassland and woodland sites in Kraków, Poland (Skórka et al 2007) found that ceasing mowing on meadows initially did not affect butterfly species richness, but species richness decreased as mature forest developed, and effects of ceasing mowing on individual species abundances were mixed. Similar numbers of butterfly species were present on mown meadows (mowed annually: 19–21), fallow land (not mowed for about 10 years: 22–29), old fallow land (not mowed for 10–20 years: 25–37) and young forest (not mowed for between 10–20 years: 25–29), but mature forest had fewer species than all other types of land (not mowed for about 50 years: 12–13) (text in paper reports that species richness was higher in old fallow land than mown meadows but this contrasts with graph captions). Numbers of scarce large blue Maculinea teleius, dusky large blue Maculinea nausithous and Alcon blue Maculinea alcon were highest on old fallow, but gypsy moths Lymantria dispar and violet coppers Lycaena helle were highest on mown meadows (results presented as statistical tests). See paper for results for other species. Three replicates of five types of land at different stages of succession were compared (15 sites in total) – meadows mowed annually in summer (mown meadows) and land which hadn’t been mowed for about 10 years (fallow), 10–20 years (old fallow), about 20 years (young forest) and about 50 years (mature forest). On 11 occasions from May–September, butterflies were counted along a 200 m transect in each of the 15 sites, positioned >50 m from the habitat type boundary.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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