MODELLING BUTTERFLY RESPONSES TO FIELD MARGIN DESIGN.
The primary aim of UK Environmental Stewardship schemes is to conserve biodiversity in the wider countryside, by offering refuge to non-target species of cultural and economic value and by reconnecting habitats across a fragmented landscape. A common approach is to create field margins or buffer strips which have been shown to promote the abundance and dispersal of insects. However, the benefits of these approaches have yet to be fully assessed and understood.
Butterflies are key bioindicator organisms and are a taxon containing species of high cultural value. There is also abundant experimental data on butterfly life-history and biology to both help inform the construction of individual based models and validate them through using data from both long-term experiments and the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The aim of this project is to use individual based models to understand the interaction between what floral resources the field margins offer, the connectivity of the landscape, weather and the dispersal biology of different butterfly species.
It is hoped that the finished models will help in the optimisation of both management and placement of field margins for maximum conservation benefit.
Click here to see my poster at the 2016 British Ecological Society conference in Liverpool.