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A decline in biodiversity in agricultural landscapes has been reported for decades. One of the most important habitats for biodiversity in agricultural landscapes is semi-natural grasslands. To preserve species-rich semi-natural grasslands, research need to focus both on local habitat quality and on landscape composition at various scales. In the current study I examined how nectar sources, host plants and other environmental parameters affected the occurrence of adults of four burnet moth species, residents of semi-natural grasslands. Also, I investigated the effects of landscape composition at 34 spatial scales. The results in general showed positive effects of host plants cover, nectar sources abundance, dry soil, sun exposure, tall sward height, small herb and grass cover. At the landscape level all the species responded negatively to the amount of arable land and positively to the amount of forests at scales up to 10000 m. Two species were negatively affected by the amount of artificial surfaces and pasture at some scales. Though the amount of semi-natural grasslands and patch area did not affect the occurrence of the species, at the local scale semi-natural grasslands were still important for the species. Thus, my results suggest that management should be focused both on local and landscape levels. Focus should be to preserve sunny and open areas of high-quality semi-natural grasslands rich in burnet moths’ host plants and especially nectar sources that seem to be more important than host plants for adults. Semi-natural grasslands should be preferably adjacent to forests and not arable land.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 06/01/16