Assessing Butterflies in Europe. Executive summary

Roy, D.B. ORCID:; Bourn, N.; Collins, S.; Dennis, E.B.; Schmucki, R. ORCID:; Settele, J.; Sevilleja, C.G.; Van Swaay, C.A.M.; Wynhoff, I.. 2020 Assessing Butterflies in Europe. Executive summary. Wageningen, The Netherlands, Butterfly Conservation Europe, 15pp.

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1. The Assessing Butterflies in Europe (ABLE) project was an EU Parliamentary Pilot project with a duration of two years (beginning of December 2019 to the end of November 2020) and received €800,000 of funding via a service contract with Directorate General Environment. 2. The mandate and rationale from the EU Parliament was: “The project aims at developing a suite of EU Lepidoptera indicators which can help improve conservation measure and assess progress in implementing EU policies and legislation such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and the EU Habitats Directive. Besides providing a highly relevant indicator for measuring progress in terms of managing and restoring Natura 2000 sites, it would also contribute to monitoring progress on Target 3 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. In particular, the pilot should deliver a representative indicator to help monitor the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on grassland biodiversity. It will also provide data to produce a climate change indicator, thereby contributing to the ongoing revision of climate change adaptation strategies. Indicators will also be possible for woodland, wetland and urban habitats.” 3. The ABLE project was delivered by a consortium of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Butterfly Conservation Europe, Butterfly Conservation UK, De Vlinderstichting and HelmholtzZentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH – UFZ. Considerable in-kind contributions were provided by Butterfly Conservation partners across Europe. 4. There is mounting evidence of widespread declines in the diversity and abundance of insects across the globe. The ABLE project is particularly timely in helping to develop capacity for monitoring of insects and assessing the status of butterflies in the EU. 5. There are 482 butterfly species in Europe (451 occurring within the EU27), breeding in a wide range of habitats. Butterflies react quickly to change and are considered to be good biological indicators, especially of other insects and pollinators. Monitoring butterflies can help shed light on changes in these important groups. 6. The main aims of the ABLE project were to collate butterfly monitoring data across Europe, to facilitate the start of new schemes in the EU, and to develop indicators to help policy design and evaluation. 7. Following the mandate from the EU Parliament for this Pilot project, we make the following key recommendations: i. Use Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (eBMS) data and indicators for EU policy design; to inform resource planning, especially for Member State’s Prioritised Action Frameworks (PAFs); and to track, evaluate and adjust EU and MSs policy implementation, including the EU Green Deal, EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, to help reverse pollinator declines. ii. Use Member State and Article 17 data on butterflies to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of the EU CAP and MS’s CAP Strategic Plans; to ensure Forestry plans include more grassland refuges and herb rich rides and edges; and that urban planning and regional developments invest in pollinator habitats. Butterfly Conservation Europe 2020 \textbar ASSESSING BUTTERFLIES IN EUROPE – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6 iii. Use available Butterfly Monitoring Scheme data to strengthen the quality of assessments of conservation Status of Habitats Directive listed habitats and species in meeting mandatory reporting requirements under Art 17 of the Directive iv. Invest in linking butterfly data with land use and management data, including implementation of Natura 2000 Management Plans, Land Parcel Information system and Satellite data to help evaluate conservation effectiveness v. Support additional monitoring of rare and vulnerable butterflies (including endemics and those not listed on the Habitats Directive) and designate some additional Protected Areas to sustain and enhance the quality of remaining areas that are important for these Red Listed butterflies and so prevent further extinctions vi. Invest in further capacity building and cooperation among citizen scientists, professionals, farmers and authorities to monitor and record abundance of butterflies, moths and other pollinators, including supporting coordination, training and growth of citizen science eBMS schemes (as recommended by EU Pollinator Expert Group); filling data gaps and developing tools and expertise to gather and integrate data from various sources. vii. ABLE shows that Citizen Science eBMS are cost effective, delivering very good value for money. New citizen science Butterfly Monitoring Schemes are needed in Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia. Together with further support to sustain and increase transects across most EU MSs, especially in the ten schemes newly created during the ABLE project. The ten EU27 countries where new Citizen Science butterfly monitoring schemes were begun in 2019/2020, with the support of ABLE, BCE partners and active volunteers, are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland and Portugal. Together with Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Lithuania (currently dormant), Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, there are now 22 EU(27) Member States with butterfly monitoring schemes. With several more outside the EU, including Norway, Switzerland and the UK (which has the longest running scheme). 8. This Executive Summary accompanies detailed technical reports on the three project tasks: development of butterfly indicators, development of butterfly monitoring networks, and tools to support butterfly monitoring and analysis.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Funders/Sponsors: European Union, DG Environment
Additional Keywords: butterfly, monitoring, Europe, European Union, biodiversity, pollinators, grassland, woodland
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 29 Jan 2021 13:03 +0 (UTC)

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