For­est may hold key to sav­ing but­ter­flies

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - MARKET PRICES COUNTRYFILE - by Mike Ben­nett

THE Forestry Com­mis­sion is tak­ing ac­tion to tackle the de­cline in rare wood­land but­ter­flies and moths and help­ing them to thrive once again.

Work­ing with But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion they have an­nounced plans to im­prove the plight of this im­por­tant and charis­matic part of our na­tive fauna.

It should pro­vide a brighter fu­ture for them at a key lo­cal site in the Stour Val­ley out­side Ash­ford, which is cited as a prime ex­am­ple of suc­cess.

At Denge Wood near God­mer­sham, the rare Duke of Bur­gundy but­ter­fly has seen its for­tunes greatly im­proved as part of a land­scape restora­tion project by Forestry Com­mis­sion staff in part­ner­ship with the Wood­land Trust and a private wood­land owner.

Through the sen­si­tive re­moval of veg­e­ta­tion it has been pos­si­ble to re­con­nect a pair of iso­lated colonies and in­crease their links, to make sure that in­breed­ing does not in­crease the chances of lo­cal ex­tinc­tion.

The Duke of Bur­gundy is now con­fined to only a hand­ful of sites in South East Eng­land and is ex­tinct in neigh­bour­ing Sur­rey.

The main food­plants for this but­ter­fly are prim­rose and cowslip that are found grow­ing among coarse veg­e­ta­tion.

Open space cre­ation along the cor­ri­dor has im­proved the amount and dis­tri­bu­tion of th­ese food­plants.

Forestry Com­mis­sion staff drew up the habi­tat im­prove­ment plan, helped fund the en­hance­ment works on the private land and over­saw the de­liv­ery of op­er­a­tions on the ground.

Jay Doyle, Forestry Com­mis­sion ecol­o­gist for South East Eng­land said: “The fu­ture suc­cess of wildlife con­ser­va­tion will to a large ex­tent hinge on the will­ing­ness of the Gov­ern­ment, non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions and private landown­ers to work to­gether and pool knowl­edge and re­sources to achieve land­scape-scale ben­e­fits in a cost-ef­fec­tive man­ner.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.