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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Butterfly Numbers in Wiltshire

According to a report by the Wildlife Trusts butterflies are booming across farmland in Wiltshire belonging to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) where field margins have been reseeded with a mix of grasses and flowers that appeal to wildlife.

The Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) carried out an initial survey of 111 arable field boundaries in 2005 before the margins were sown, and recorded 211 butterflies of 14 different species. Only one species on the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species, the small heath butterfly, was present.

In 2005/6 the DSTL carried out a reseeding programme where field boundaries were resown with a mixture of seeds to appeal to butterflies and other invertebrates, small mammals, and birds. In the hot summer of 2006 a dramatic rise to 6,980 butterflies of 26 different species was recorded.

A 2007 survey of 144 margins recorded 1,415 butterflies of 24 species, with some, such as the marbled white increasing in number. Apparently this still shows significant progress because the wet summer months presented such poor conditions for butterflies.

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