Nature today | The “Future of Butterflies” symposium brings together European butterfly keepers

Nature today |  The "Future of Butterflies" symposium brings together European butterfly keepers

Of all the groups of insects, butterflies are the most well-known regarding distribution, trends, threats, and effective measures. Thus, butterflies provide indicators of insect performance. This is not good: In the Netherlands, the number of butterflies flying in 2020 is halved from what it was in 1992, and the number of butterflies in grasslands in Europe has decreased by a quarter since 1990. Moths are working hard to catch up for similar trends. And for butterflies, the monitoring network is expanding to include more and more countries. The presentation by the European Commission representative showed that this knowledge is well used to design a new nature policy. The symposium provided insights into new research insights. The importance of spatial cohesion in landscapes to allow species to move in tandem with climate change has been emphasized, but also that species that fail to do so benefit from strong and diverse areas of nature. Nitrogen was not absent from the agenda: it has become increasingly clear that excess nitrogen can cause harmful disruptions to the butterflies’ diet.

There was also a contribution from the United States.  Matt Forrester provided examples of butterfly research from the southwestern United StatesThe second part of the symposium highlighted butterfly trends in North America, highlighted the importance of placing butterfly conservation in a socio-environmental context, and showed how urbanization is changing the composition of butterfly communities and how genetic analyzes can be improved. Learn about the patterns occurring in butterfly diversity on a European scale – and how well we use that knowledge to protect biodiversity.

Among the participants, the participants exchanged ideas widely in smaller groups. Not a real substitute for a physical meeting, but it definitely deserves it! Here you will find the full two-day program and the presentations can be viewed on YouTube.

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Text: Michelle Wallis de Vries, Irma Weinhoff, Chris Van Sway, and De Flenderstitching
Photos: Cars Feeling

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