Study

Influence of fire prevention management strategies on the diversity of butterfly fauna in the eastern Pyrenees

  • Published source details Ricouart F., Cereghino R., Gers C., Winterton P. & Legal L. (2013) Influence of fire prevention management strategies on the diversity of butterfly fauna in the eastern Pyrenees. Journal of Insect Conservation, 17, 95-111.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Mechanically remove mid-storey or ground vegetation to create fire breaks

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Mechanically remove mid-storey or ground vegetation to create fire breaks

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1999–2001 in three Mediterranean shrublands in Eastern Pyrenees, France (Ricouart et al. 2013) reported that areas where scrub and trees were mechanically cleared to create fire breaks had a similar species richness of butterflies to areas where grazing was used to suppress vegetation. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Areas where trees and bushes were cleared had 23–50 butterfly species, compared to 18–50 species in areas where only bushes were cleared, and 25–41 species in areas where grazing was used to suppress vegetation. The authors reported that the main associations of species were by site rather than fire management strategy, but at one site species adapted to dry Mediterranean areas were mostly found in the grazed area (data presented as model results). In winter 1999–2000, three shrublands (29–70 ha) were divided into three zones by fencing. One zone (7–15 ha) was totally cleared of trees and bushes, leaving only the herb layer. The second zone (11–12 ha) was cleared of at least two-thirds of bushes, leaving trees in place. The third zone (1–51 ha) was grazed by cows or goats, with no mechanical vegetation clearance. From May–September 2000–2001, butterflies were surveyed with hand nets for 90 minutes once/month in a single 1-ha plot in each management area.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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