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Developing a system for assessing the effect of Agri-Environment Schemes on butterfly populations - BD1427

Butterfly populations respond rapidly to changing habitat management and form important biological indicators of changes resulting from agricultural land use incentive schemes. The major aim of this study will be to develop a system for assessing the effect of agri-environment schemes on butterfly populations. The project will build on an existing network of sites currently being monitored by volunteers in order to develop a cost effective butterfly monitoring method and gain information which will help to maximize the contribution of incentive schemes to conserving biodiversity.

The study will comprise 6 specific objectives, outlined as follows, together with ways in which they might be achieved: 1. Collation of existing butterfly transect data currently taken from 363 sites in England and Wales into a single database, and examination of the proportion of monitored sites undergoing agri-environment scheme management; 2. Development of analytical methods for identifying trends in butterfly populations within agri-environment schemes, especially priority species identified within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Mean population trends, together with standard errors, will be identified from the collated index, while statistical advice will also be sought from the Dutch Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and the Dutch Bureau of Statistics; 3. Analysis of monitoring data and identification of trends within and outside land subject to agri-environment schemes. Historical datasets currently available for many sites will allow tracking of populations before and after entry into such schemes and before and after communication of feedback to land owners to improve their management practices; 4. Examination of the effects of habitat management on butterfly populations with recommendations for improvement of scheme strategies if required; 5. Provision of regular feedback of project findings (presented either in the form of either sumaries or annual seminars) on the effects of management schemes for individual sites to relevant project officers, recorders and agreement holders; and 6. Development of the existing network of butterfly transects by provision of annual feedback to recorders and expansion of the volunteer network to cover further sites and thereby reduce gaps in coverage. The long-term potential of transects for monitoring butterfly populations in agri-environment schemes will also be assessed.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Developing a system for assessing the effect of Agri-Environment Schemes on butterfly populations   (5228k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2002

Cost: £1,427,278
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Butterfly Conservation
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Peer Review              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship