Battle to save the region's butterflies is taken on by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (From The Northern Echo)
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Battle to save the region's butterflies is taken on by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
CONSERVATIONISTS are engaged in a battle to save the region’s butterflies.
Throughout England, numbers have fallen sharply, with habitat specialists among the biggest losers, according to the latest study.
The recent fine weather has helped several species recover from last year’s prolonged cold and wet periods, with experts saying there have been regular sightings of the likes of peacocks and speckled woods, among others.
“However, in the long term this burst of good weather is not enough to ensure the future of some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful species,” said Caroline Thorogood, Regional Manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. “Habitat loss and fragmentation drives this downward trend for butterflies as well as other wildlife, with only two per cent of wildflower-rich grassland now considered semi-natural in England according to the recent State of Nature report. The story is much the same across different habitats.”
In a bid to address this, efforts are being made to connect conservation areas to create clear passageways for wildlife to pass along.
Careful habitat management of the trust’s 95 reserves, using traditional methods, including coppicing, or conservation grazing with low numbers of cattle and sheep has ensured the success of several butterfly species on some of the trust’s nature reserves, including small pearl-bordered fritillaries at Fen Bog Nature Reserve near Goathland.
Elsewhere, projects including restoration work along the River Ouse in the York area, has helped to provide corridors for wildlife, including butterflies.
Ms Thorogood added: “It is not all doom and gloom for butterflies, with summer this year making a pleasant change – the sunshine has brought out many butterflies into our gardens, fields and greenspaces.
“The Trust is protecting and restoring areas of Yorkshire good for butterflies, but everyone can help by ensuring their gardens are wildlife-friendly.”
She said the Wildlife Trust and Royal Horticultural Society website www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk contained useful tips on how to get started. It is not too late to plant nectar-rich plants for butterflies to feed on, while dead-heading plants that have already flowered encourage more to bloom. For more details about the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust visit www.ywt.org.uk
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