Pearl-Bordered fritillary reintroduced to sites in Kent and Sussex28/07/2010 14:31:48 Threatened woodland butterfly takes flight in East Sussex and Kent once more
July 2010. The Pearl-Bordered fritillary, one of the UK's rarest woodland butterflies, has spread its wings again in the woodlands of East Sussex and Kent from where it has disappeared.
Abbots Wood & RSPB Tudeley Woods
More than 250 butterflies were spotted at Abbots Wood in woodland corridors, along pathways and across open spaces from the heart of the forest to the outer edges.
At Tudeley Woods in Kent, where the Pearl-Bordered fitillary had previously disappeared, the RSPB has had initial success with a similar scheme. After several years of coppicing there is a good supply of plants for both adults and caterpillars and an encouraging number of butterflies were seen using them this summer.
Pearl-Bordered fritillary in steep decline in UK
Dan Hoare, Senior Regional Officer for Butterfly Conservation in South East England, said: "These projects are pivotal to the success of this butterfly's conservation in the future. It has given us new hope that we can reverse the declines, and it's brilliant that organisations are working together across the country to share reintroduction techniques. The Forestry Commission and the RSPB have shown that both modern forestry and traditional woodland management can support this threatened species."
Butterflies from Rewell Wood
Butterflies have used the favourable sunny weather to take advantage of the Forestry Commission's carefully targeted management of the forest landscape. The Pearl-Bordered fritillary is now thriving in the open spaces that have been created by felling trees to provide sustainable timber for British industry.
The ever changing mosaic of open space within the woodland that is linked by the internal corridors along forest roads and rides provides warm and dry conditions necessary for butterfly larvae to grow and an ample source of flowers and nectar during the summer months.
Lack of forestry lead to decline
Jay Doyle, Ecologist for the Forestry Commission in South East England said: "The decline of forest management across the British landscape is the single biggest issue affecting woodlands and their biodiversity. Steps are now being taken to address this, typified by the success at Abbots Wood. A growing demand for woodfuel as part of our commitment to renewable energy may well revitalise forestry and woodland management and deliver a brighter future for woodland wildlife such as the pearl-bordered fritillary."
Jane Sears, Biodiversity Projects Officer for the RSPB said: "We aim to protect all biodiversity on our reserves, not just birds. It's wonderful to see that the woodland management at Tudeley Woods RSPB is supporting this beautiful butterfly. We will continue to keep a close eye on them and check we are providing the right conditions and I hope we can encourage other woodland managers to follow our example."