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Introduction

The importance of understanding landscape dynamics and landscape ecology increase with the process of land conversion for human use. The major factors involved in land conversion is agriculture, urban development and forestry. The land conversion leads to loss of natural habitats and fragmentation which drastically change the landscape structure and composition. The resulting fragmented landscape consist of patches with natural vegetation surrounded by a matrix of agricultural or other developed land. It is often considered that the matrix surrounding the patches is homogenous and inhospitable, and most studies have focused on how high-conservation-value habitats such as semi-natural grasslands have been affected by the fragmentation inagricultural landscapes where only a small percentage of habitat remains.

Something that suggests that only focusing on semi-natural grasslands might give us lack of information is the trend of declining habitat specialist butterflies in England compared to Sweden that still have a relatively rich butterfly fauna even though the Swedish landscape only consist of 0,6 % semi-natural grasslands. This may indicate the importance of other habitats.

Studies has shown the crucial role of the matrix in maintaining diversity in fragmented landscapes, acting as a mosaic of units with varying resources, permeability and qualities for different species. Due to the decrease of the butterfly fauna, it is of high priority to understand how the landscape and the local habitat affect butterflies. Therefore, the focus of this study is to investigate where resources for butterflies occur in the whole landscape, not only in semi-natural grasslands.

This study will in detail investigate butterfly and burnet moth occurrence in the landscape with focus on which habitats structure (e.g., field margins, arable fields, road verges, coniferous forest) that are most important and how butterfly and burnet moth density are affected by the surrounding matrix. The overall aim is to increase the understanding of how landscape composition and habitat quality affect butterfly density and species richness.

Specifically this study will discuss is what influence the following factors has on butterfly density, species richness and different species groups; (1) landscape composition at different scales, (2) habitat structure, (3) habitat quality, (4) and vegetation structure.


Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/05/16