This study illustrates how clear-cuts with a history of meadow contain a higher butterfly diversity and abundance than clear-cuts with a history of forest. By using this knowledge in combination with historical maps, there are many possibilities for preserving and increasing the Swedish butterfly fauna. However, due to current successional stages through plantation regimes, there is no clear difference in trends for butterfly populations between the different clear-cuts.
This indicates that active measures, such as changes in production forestry policies, must be made in order to preserve this land use legacy in clear-cuts with a history of meadow. It cannot be guaranteed that butterflies will survive another cycle of production forestry. Further studies are needed to test and evaluate new post-logging management regimes for clear-cuts with a history of meadow with the purpose of preserving the butterfly fauna.
In order to preserve this land use legacy, active means of conservation must take place. There is a great potential for increasing connectivity and decreasing fragmentation in the Swedish landscape. Suggestions for post-logging changes in production forestry:
- Hold off on plantation and reforestation. In today's production forestry, clear-cuts are planted shortly after logging. It would be beneficial for butterfly metapopulations if this reforestation was put on hold for a few years in order to allow for a natural succession of plants on clear-cuts.
- Convert clear-cuts with a history of meadow to grazing areas. By doing so, preferentially with a regulated grazing regime across the season shifting animals between different areas, clear-cuts will in time shift towards semi-natural grasslands.
- Leave more open areas during plantation. By creating glades and other open areas in an otherwise densly forested landscape, butterflies will be able to inhabit and colonize these areas.
Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/28/14