Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Quarries May Be Last Chance For Many Rare European Butterflies

Date:
July 31, 2003
Source:
Society For Conservation Biology
Summary:
While European environmentalists see quarries as scars in the Earth, these industrial operations may actually play a critical role in preserving rare species. New research shows that quarries provide the only suitable habitat for at-risk butterflies in some places, suggesting that current policies of filling in old quarries are misguided.

While European environmentalists see quarries as scars in the Earth, these industrial operations may actually play a critical role in preserving rare species. New research shows that quarries provide the only suitable habitat for at-risk butterflies in some places, suggesting that current policies of filling in old quarries are misguided.

"Increasing evidence is revealing the counterproductivity of such practices," say Jiri Benes, Pavel Kepka and Martin Konvicka, all of the University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, in the August issue of Conservation Biology.

Throughout Europe, butterflies that depend on warm, dry areas have declined because many of the steppe-like grasslands that provide this habitat have been lost to intensified agriculture, conifer plantations and urbanization. Two of the researchers (Benes and Konvicka) have been butterfly enthusiasts since childhood and noticed as high school students that many steppe grassland species were essentially found only in quarries in the Czech Republic's Moravian Gate, one of Europe's most important north-south migration corridors. Thus, the researchers were concerned that these butterflies would be further threatened by the Czech Republic's policy of reclaiming old quarries, which usually means covering them with topsoil and planting trees.

To see if quarries can help compensate for the loss of steppe habitat in Europe, Benes and his colleagues surveyed the diversity and abundance of butterflies in 21 limestone quarries in the Moravian lowlands. The researchers surveyed the butterflies in four habitat types: recently excavated rock, sparsely vegetated, herbaceous plants, and trees and shrubs.

The researchers found that quarries serve as refuges for two groups of butterflies that depend on steppe-like habitats. The first group comprises 20 species, nine of which are threatened in the Czech Republic, that thrive in active quarries because they prefer habitats such as rocks and stony terraces. While managing reserves to maintain such habitats would be an ongoing and costly task, "the service is provided for free in the quarries as a side-effect of the excavation," say Benes and his colleagues.

The second group comprises 19 species, 10 of which are threatened in the Czech Republic, that thrive in old quarries because they prefer habitats that grow on previously excavated surfaces, notably scrubby forest-steppes. These habitats are virtually gone elsewhere in Central Europe because managers of steppe reserves there typically remove scrub in favor of orchids and other charismatic plants.

More than half of the quarries studied are in areas that no longer have any natural steppe grasslands. "The quarries are thus the only chance for preserving steppe butterflies there," note Benes and his colleagues. They recommend operating active quarries and managing old ones to maintain the bare rock and scrubby habitats that the two groups of steppe butterflies require. "Conservationists should pragmatically exploit these opportunities by cooperating with quarry operators," they say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society For Conservation Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society For Conservation Biology. "Quarries May Be Last Chance For Many Rare European Butterflies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030725080416.htm>.
Society For Conservation Biology. (2003, July 31). Quarries May Be Last Chance For Many Rare European Butterflies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030725080416.htm
Society For Conservation Biology. "Quarries May Be Last Chance For Many Rare European Butterflies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030725080416.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins