Monday, 11 April 2016

Latest schemes to protect butterflies in woods and gardens

Earlier in the year, Butterfly Conservation teamed up with the Woodland Trust to launch a new 'Charter':

Time to protect our trees

Butterfly Conservation has joined a campaign to help protect the UK’s woodland and the butterflies and moths that depend on them.
The campaign, led by the Woodland Trust, is calling on people to stick up for trees and help create a new charter for trees, woods and people.
Our woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, disease and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten.
Woodlands are a vitally important habitat for butterflies such as the Purple EmperorSpeckled Woodand White Admiral  and a huge range of moths. At a time when wildlife is under threat like never before protecting our trees, woods and forests for the future is vitally important.
The campaign is calling for a new charter for trees, woods and people. The charter will be launched in November 2017, which marks 800 years since Henry lll signed the original Charter of the Forest. This influential charter protected and restored the rights of people to access and use the Royal Forests.
The coalition believe that now is the time to create a new charter, a broader charter that recognises the importance of trees in our society, celebrates their enormous contribution to our lives, and acts now so that future generations can benefit from them too.
The coalition’s ambition is that the principles set out in the 2017 charter will articulate the relationship between people and trees in the UK in the 21st century.
The charter will provide guidance and inspiration for policy, practice, innovation and enjoyment, redefining the everyday benefits that we all gain from woods and trees in our lives, for everyone, from Government to businesses, communities and individuals.
Local groups, clubs, councils and committees will be encouraged to take part by bringing people together to celebrate the woods and trees at the heart of their communities and help feed ideas and stories into the building of the charter. 

Here's their latest newsletter:

Welcome to April's ‘all aflutter’.
The official start of British Summer Time (BST) has blessed us with more daylight hours to enjoy the great outdoors but, if you're heading out, remember the start of BST doesn't necessarily mean the start of the sunny weather. This month we look at how last year’s cool summer made life difficult for our butterflies. The Secret Gardener reveals why the humble rockery can prove a wildlife haven. We introduce the April Fritillary and we find out why one of our conservationists is pounding the pavement of the capital to save butterflies and moths.
Small Copper Struggles
Have you ever wondered why butterflies are more active on sunny days? Butterflies are cold-blooded which means that they can’t regulate their own body temperature. A butterfly that is too cold cannot fly, flee predators or feed. In short, the weather affects their ability to function.

Last year’s summer was both colder than average and the results from 2015’s UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) reveal the negative impact this had on butterfly populations.

The Small Copper was one of the species that struggled most in the cold conditions with numbers down almost a quarter on the previous year. Some 34 of the 57 species studied experienced declines in 2015.

There are other factors causing butterfly declines which are slightly easier to control, but sunshine is sometimes the boost a struggling species needs to get back on track. Fingers crossed for a warm and sunny 2016.
Dig It: Hot Rocks
You wouldn’t normally associate the humble rockery with butterflies and moths, but think again as these hot and dry microhabitats can offer conditions much sought after by garden wildlife.

Not only can they provide butterflies with an important place to bask but, with a bit of careful planting, they can prove the perfect spot to grow much needed nectar sources.

The Secret Gardener reveals which species to plant in your rockery to attract butterflies and moths this spring and summer.
Look Out For: April Fritillaries
It's too early in the year for many common garden and countryside butterflies to put in an appearance, but one of our most rapidly declining species, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary is 'on the wing'. This golden butterfly was originally known as the April Fritillary because of its emergence time. Once widespread, it has seen numbers plummet in the last century.

Conservation work to prevent extinction includes the coppicing of woodland which allows sunlight into overgrown areas. Wild violets can then grow in the clearings, supplying food for the caterpillars. If successful, small colonies can expand into these new areas of suitable habitat and increase their dwindling numbers.
Running For Butterflies
Butterfly Conservation’s Ian Middlebrook is braving blisters for butterflies by running the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Butterfly Monitoring Co-ordinator Ian will face the gruelling 26.2 mile run on 24 April to raise money for Butterfly Conservation’s important recording and monitoring work across the UK.
Images from top to bottom: Small Copper (Tim Melling), Green-veined White on Saxifrage (Nicholas Hatton), Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Andrew Cooper).
Useful Links...
Lifting the lid on behind-the-scenes work keeping our staff busy - from midnight mountain searches for rare moths to needle-in-a-haystack hunts for Hairstreak eggs.
You can brush up your identification skills, help on a conservation task, see a rare species or just enjoy a beautiful site. Our regional branches run events across the UK all year round.
Quick Links

Join our Flickr group and submit your best UK butterfly, moth and caterpillar shots.
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Butterfly Conservation: Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468)
Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP, Tel: 01929 400 209
Charity registered in England & Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268

All Aflutter – Spring Butterflies

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