Effects of habitat quality and isolation on the colonization of restored heathlands by butterflies

  • Published source details WallisDeVries M.F. & Ens S.H. (2010) Effects of habitat quality and isolation on the colonization of restored heathlands by butterflies. Restoration Ecology, 18, 390-398.


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, site comparison in 2002–2003 in eight restored heathlands in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe, the Netherlands (Wallis De Vries and Enns, 2010) found that butterfly abundance and species richness was lower in heathlands restored by topsoil removal than in the surrounding landscape, but abundance was higher in an area where heather litter had also been spread than where it had not. There was lower abundance and species richness of both heathland specialist and generalist butterflies in the areas restored through topsoil removal (abundance: specialist = 4, generalist = 14; species richness: specialist = 3, generalist = 5) than in the surrounding 1 km2 (abundance: specialist = 5, generalist = 16; species richness: specialist = 13, generalist = 12). At a site with some heather litter spreading as well, there was higher abundance of specialist and generalist species where the heather had been spread (specialist = 39, generalist = 46). than where it had not (specialist = 5, generalist = 32). See paper for details of individual species. In 1990–1994, up to 50 cm of topsoil was removed from eight former agricultural sites to restore them to heathland. Heather cuttings were spread on the ground at part of one site. Five restoration sites had 12–40 ha of heathland in the surrounding 1 km2, and three were surrounded only by agricultural land. In April–September 2002–2003, butterflies were surveyed at each site along walking transects of >500 m, with one transect in each restored site and one in the corresponding surrounding 1 km2 habitat (heathland for five and agricultural land for three), resulting in 16 transects which were surveyed at least four times annually. At the site with heather spreading half the transect was within the spreading area and half outside it.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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