Forest habitats for butterflies

Forest habitats for butterflies

With the dramatic difference in the weather compared to last summer, indications are that this has been a good year for butterflies

In early August, Forestry Commission and Forest Holidays staff teamed up to support the nationwide Big Butterfly Count at Basing Wood in Hampshire, and spotted seven species in just 15 minutes.

Earlier this year, the Forestry Commission met with Butterfly Conservation to establish a permanent butterfly monitoring scheme at Basing Wood. Twenty weeks of data have been collected so far, with a peak count of 310 butterflies recorded on July 2.


The 2018 Forestry Commission/Forest Holidays butterfly count

The Basing Wood Butterfly Conservation Project, one of the first Forestry Commission projects to be funded by Forest Holidays’ Conservation Fund, has enhanced butterfly habitats at Basing Wood, and helped to create feeding and egg-laying opportunities for species such as the white admiral and grizzled skipper.

Early indications suggest that woodland and edge habitat butterflies are responding well, with species such as the small blue, meadow brown and silver washed fritillary appearing in good numbers. By opening up woodland corridors and linking them with a forest meadow in the heart of Basing Wood, the project has restored essential connectivity between sites. As well as creating a habitat for many species of butterfly, the provision of scrubby grassland margins is supporting a variety of other wildlife including barn owls, dormice and grass snakes.


The common blue. Pictures: Forestry Commission

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Steve Ott

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