Limiting factors in the restoration of grassland insects
Woodcock, B. A., Bullock, J. M., Thomas, J. A., Rispin, W. E., Mortimer, S. R. and Pywell, R. F. (2012) Limiting factors in the restoration of grassland insects. Aspects of Applied Biology, 115. pp. 47-51. ISSN 0265-1491
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Grasslands restoration is a key management tool contributing to the long-term maintenance of insect populations, providing functional connectivity and mitigating against extinction debt across landscapes. As knowledge of grassland insect communities is limited, the lag between the initiation of restoration and the ability of these new habitats to contribute to the successful enhancement of native biodiversity is unclear. Using two long term data sets, we investigate differences in successional trajectories during the establishment of butterfly (11 years) and phytophagous beetle (13 years) communities during the recreation of calcareous grassland. Overall restoration success was higher for the butterflies than the beetles. However, both shared a general pattern of rapidly increasing restoration success over the first five years, awhich approached an asymptote after c. 10 years. The use of pro-active grassland restoration to mitigate against future environmental change therefore needs to account for such time lag if the value of these habitats is to be fully realised.
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