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Butterfly biodiversity in green areas of Malmö: quantifying the changes in the last 9 years

Aguilera Núñez, Guillermo (2016) BION01 20152
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
The decline suffered by grassland pollinators in the south of Sweden may have great consequences resulting in the loss of important ecosystem services. However, cities may mitigate this effect as parks and other urban green areas can act as refuges for high pollinator diversity. Here I try to assess the status of the butterfly populations in the city of Malmö using as a reference a study carried out nine years earlier. I compared the species richness and abundance in both periods as well as the current differences in species richness and abundance among different management types. Results show a simplification of the urban butterfly populations and point at traditional urban parks as the most affected areas. Apart from containing a lower... (More)
The decline suffered by grassland pollinators in the south of Sweden may have great consequences resulting in the loss of important ecosystem services. However, cities may mitigate this effect as parks and other urban green areas can act as refuges for high pollinator diversity. Here I try to assess the status of the butterfly populations in the city of Malmö using as a reference a study carried out nine years earlier. I compared the species richness and abundance in both periods as well as the current differences in species richness and abundance among different management types. Results show a simplification of the urban butterfly populations and point at traditional urban parks as the most affected areas. Apart from containing a lower number of species, traditional parks also lost more species between both periods and experienced fewer species colonisations. This study shows how management can influence the butterfly diversity of urban green areas and how it can be a potential tool for creating high quality areas for pollinators when designing city plans in the future. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Pollinator populations are globally declining because of the rapid urbanization levels and the new agricultural techniques, a trend that can lead to an important loss in terms of ecosystem services. Butterflies are excellent indicators for other pollinator species and some aspects of their ecology, as their fast development and the strong connection with the weather conditions, make them perfect candidates to study future scenarios. Cities may look like poor habitats but they do contain high levels of biodiversity. In terms of butterfly diversity, is there any factor affecting it positively? If so, practices could be implemented in order to enhance urban butterfly population and counter these general decline and its negative effects.

... (More)
Pollinator populations are globally declining because of the rapid urbanization levels and the new agricultural techniques, a trend that can lead to an important loss in terms of ecosystem services. Butterflies are excellent indicators for other pollinator species and some aspects of their ecology, as their fast development and the strong connection with the weather conditions, make them perfect candidates to study future scenarios. Cities may look like poor habitats but they do contain high levels of biodiversity. In terms of butterfly diversity, is there any factor affecting it positively? If so, practices could be implemented in order to enhance urban butterfly population and counter these general decline and its negative effects.

In this paper I try to assess the changes that have occurred in the city of Malmö during the last nine years regarding its butterfly populations. For this task I compare my data with a previous study carried out by Öckinger et al. (2009).

Twenty sites that were previously studied by Öckinger et al. (2009) were sampled with similar methods between June and August in 2015. The methodology consisted in walking transect in every site where every encounter with a butterfly individual would be counted. Additionally some local factors as the management type, vegetation height or the flower abundance were measured for each site a part from landscapes variables as the distance from each site to the edge of the city.

Butterflies are declining in the city, is there something that can be done?

My results show how the Malmö butterfly community has been reduced in terms of number of species. And what is more important, my data shows how the type of management in the different sampled green areas appears to play an important role in this problem. More specifically, traditional urban parks, characterized by their mowed lawn and their ornamental flower beds, seem to support lower butterfly diversity when compared with other urban green areas.

These results, together with the fact that many butterflies are specialist herbivores, point in the direction of the vegetation management of the urban green areas as a powerful tool to improve the butterfly diversity in our cities. And what is more important, an improvement in butterfly diversity could lead to a general improvement for other pollinators and maybe a better future for the ecosystem services they provide.

Supervisor: Lars Pettersson
Master´s Degree Project 45 credits in Conservation Biology 2016
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Aguilera Núñez, Guillermo
supervisor
organization
course
BION01 20152
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8891871
date added to LUP
2016-09-16 08:00:59
date last changed
2016-09-16 08:00:59
@misc{8891871,
  abstract     = {The decline suffered by grassland pollinators in the south of Sweden may have great consequences resulting in the loss of important ecosystem services. However, cities may mitigate this effect as parks and other urban green areas can act as refuges for high pollinator diversity. Here I try to assess the status of the butterfly populations in the city of Malmö using as a reference a study carried out nine years earlier. I compared the species richness and abundance in both periods as well as the current differences in species richness and abundance among different management types. Results show a simplification of the urban butterfly populations and point at traditional urban parks as the most affected areas. Apart from containing a lower number of species, traditional parks also lost more species between both periods and experienced fewer species colonisations. This study shows how management can influence the butterfly diversity of urban green areas and how it can be a potential tool for creating high quality areas for pollinators when designing city plans in the future.},
  author       = {Aguilera Núñez, Guillermo},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Butterfly biodiversity in green areas of Malmö: quantifying the changes in the last 9 years},
  year         = {2016},
}