Advanced

Power line Corridors as Suitable Habitat for Butterfly Species - Abundance and species richness for day-living butterflies found in power line corridors in forested areas in Scania

Arnberg, Harriet (2017) BIOM24 20142
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
The landscape composition in Sweden has drastically changed during recent years. Intensified farming and forestry has led to reduced areas valuable for biodiversity and a decline of biodiversity across many organism groups. In Sweden almost 30% of all day-living butterflies are considered threatened. Habitat creation as a by-product of anthropogenic activities may provide new habitats for species with degraded natural habitats. In this study it was investigated if power line corridors are suitable habitats for day-living butterflies (Rhopalocera) and burnet moths (Zyganidae). This was done by quantifying butterfly and burnet moth abundance and species richness in power line corridors located in Scania, South Sweden. 39 species and 3457... (More)
The landscape composition in Sweden has drastically changed during recent years. Intensified farming and forestry has led to reduced areas valuable for biodiversity and a decline of biodiversity across many organism groups. In Sweden almost 30% of all day-living butterflies are considered threatened. Habitat creation as a by-product of anthropogenic activities may provide new habitats for species with degraded natural habitats. In this study it was investigated if power line corridors are suitable habitats for day-living butterflies (Rhopalocera) and burnet moths (Zyganidae). This was done by quantifying butterfly and burnet moth abundance and species richness in power line corridors located in Scania, South Sweden. 39 species and 3457 individuals were found, among them 7 red listed species. Species found in powerline corridors were representative for the area in general, the majority had herbs as larval host plant types and had low or intermediate mobility. Butterfly abundance was affected by timing and temperature. There was no correlation between species richness and abundance and surrounding forest type, but a strong correlation was shown between butterfly abundance and abundance of blooming flowers. This indicates that power line corridors are beneficial for butterflies by providing a habitat with blooming flowers. Other factors such as vegetation height and composition might affect habitat quality and diversity, but further studies are needed to understand the full potential of power line corridors as suitable habitats for butterflies. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Power line Corridors as Suitable Habitat for Butterflies

Species from several organism groups are declining all over the world, and the extinction rate is higher than ever. Much of this biodiversity decline can be explained by the destruction of natural habitats. However, anthropogenic habitats might also provide a refuge. Power line corridors harbor several threatened species, and might therefore provide a suitable habitat for butterflies.

Butterflies are found almost everywhere and are strongly associated to grasslands with a lot of flowers. However, grasslands are getting harder and harder to find. In Sweden the total area of meadows and pastures has declined with over 70% since the end of the 19th century. Shrinking habitat... (More)
Power line Corridors as Suitable Habitat for Butterflies

Species from several organism groups are declining all over the world, and the extinction rate is higher than ever. Much of this biodiversity decline can be explained by the destruction of natural habitats. However, anthropogenic habitats might also provide a refuge. Power line corridors harbor several threatened species, and might therefore provide a suitable habitat for butterflies.

Butterflies are found almost everywhere and are strongly associated to grasslands with a lot of flowers. However, grasslands are getting harder and harder to find. In Sweden the total area of meadows and pastures has declined with over 70% since the end of the 19th century. Shrinking habitat areas and decreasing habitat quality are affecting butterflies and almost 30% of all day-living butterfly species in Sweden are considered threatened. Agricultural improvement, use of herbicides and pesticides and habitat fragmentation are considered as main threats. Human activity is however not necessarily disadvantageous. Habitat creation as a by-product of anthropogenic activities may provide new environments for species with degraded natural habitats. One of these habitats are power line corridors, which are cleared of bushes and trees, creating space for species associated with open habitats.

Several threatened species have been found in power line corridors and they have shown to hold a higher number of butterflies than pastures, clear-cuts and road verges. Power line corridors might also provide continuous areas that may act as dispersal corridors for species threatened by habitat fragmentation. For several species, habitats created by infrastructure can be used as a complement to other habitats, but for some, these habitats have become their main biotope.

The aim of this study was to further the understanding of power line corridors as suitable habitats for day living butterflies. Number of butterflies was measured to see if power line corridors hold a high diversity of butterfly species, if any differences could be found between surveyed areas and what these differences might be caused by.

39 species and 3457 individuals were found, among them 7 threatened species. Species in the corridors were representative for the area in general, the majority had herbs as larval host plants and low or intermediate mobility. Butterfly abundance was affected by visit (each area was visited two times) and temperature. There was no correlation between butterflies and the forest type surrounding the corridor, but a strong correlation was found between butterfly abundance and abundance of blooming flowers. This indicates that power line corridors are mainly beneficial for butterflies by providing a habitat with blooming flowers. Other factors such as vegetation height and composition might affect habitat quality and diversity, but further studies are needed to understand the full potential of power line corridors as suitable habitats for butterflies.

Advisor: Lars Pettersson
MasterĀ“s Degree Project 30 credits in Conservation Biology 2017
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Arnberg, Harriet
supervisor
organization
course
BIOM24 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8901383
date added to LUP
2017-01-26 11:58:18
date last changed
2017-01-26 11:58:18
@misc{8901383,
  abstract     = {The landscape composition in Sweden has drastically changed during recent years. Intensified farming and forestry has led to reduced areas valuable for biodiversity and a decline of biodiversity across many organism groups. In Sweden almost 30% of all day-living butterflies are considered threatened. Habitat creation as a by-product of anthropogenic activities may provide new habitats for species with degraded natural habitats. In this study it was investigated if power line corridors are suitable habitats for day-living butterflies (Rhopalocera) and burnet moths (Zyganidae). This was done by quantifying butterfly and burnet moth abundance and species richness in power line corridors located in Scania, South Sweden. 39 species and 3457 individuals were found, among them 7 red listed species. Species found in powerline corridors were representative for the area in general, the majority had herbs as larval host plant types and had low or intermediate mobility. Butterfly abundance was affected by timing and temperature. There was no correlation between species richness and abundance and surrounding forest type, but a strong correlation was shown between butterfly abundance and abundance of blooming flowers. This indicates that power line corridors are beneficial for butterflies by providing a habitat with blooming flowers. Other factors such as vegetation height and composition might affect habitat quality and diversity, but further studies are needed to understand the full potential of power line corridors as suitable habitats for butterflies.},
  author       = {Arnberg, Harriet},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Power line Corridors as Suitable Habitat for Butterfly Species - Abundance and species richness for day-living butterflies found in power line corridors in forested areas in Scania},
  year         = {2017},
}