UK BUTTERFLIES suffered their fourth worst year on record in 2016 with the majority of species experiencing a decline in numbers, a study has revealed. The annual UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, led by Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Trust for Ornithology and Joint Nature Conservation Committee, revealed that some 40 of the 57 species studied recorded a decline compared with 2015. Several species had their worst years on record over the past year, including the wall, grayling, white-letter hairstreak and white admiral butterflies, as well as grizzled skippers, whose numbers fell by 24% over the year to a record low. Serious concerns have also been raised about the heath fritillary, a species only found in a handful of sites in southern England. Its numbers have fallen 82% in a decade. British Butterflies have experienced serious long-term decline since the UKBMS started in 1976, with roughly 60% of species affected.
Head of monitoring at butterfly conservation, Professor Tom Brereton, said: “Worryingly, not even the pleasant summer weather of 2016 was enough to help butterflies bounce back from a run of poor years." Monitoring ecologist at the JNCC. Anna Robinson, said: “We are really grateful to the thousands of volunteers who get involved in monitoring the UK’s butterflies.
The evidence provided by the UKBMS is of great importance in showing the need for conservation action to improve the situation.”
The Scottish Farmer, 18 April 2017
The Guardian, 12 April 2017