The Stonehenge landscape habitat restoration project: conservation opportunities for rare butterflies?
Twiston-Davies, G., Mitchley, J. and Mortimer, S. (2011) The Stonehenge landscape habitat restoration project: conservation opportunities for rare butterflies? In: Vegetation Management. Association of Applied Biologists, pp. 259-265.
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Official URL: http://www.aab.org.uk/contentok.php?id=378
Landscape restoration has the potential to mitigate habitat loss and fragmentation. However, restoration can take decades to reach the ecological conditions of the target habitats. The National Trust’s Stonehenge Landscape Restoration Project provides an opportunity to evaluate the ecological benefits against the economic and temporal costs. A field survey between June and September 2010 using Lepidoptera as bio-indicators showed that restored grasslands can approach the ecological conditions of the target chalk grassland habitat within 10 years. However, specialist species like Lysandra bellargus (Adonis blue) were absent from restored grasslands and may require additional management to assist their colonisation. Analysis of the Lepidoptera communities showed that both small-scale habitat heterogeneity and age of the habitat were important for explaining Lepidoptera occurrence. These results demonstrate that habitat restoration at the landscape scale combined with appropriate site-scale management can be a relatively rapid and effective method to restore ecological networks and buffer against future climate change.
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