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Morecambe Bay woodland work to save endangered butterfly
3:52pm Friday 12th October 2012 in News
A PROGRAMME of woodland management is to be undertaken in South Lakeland to restore habitat for one of the UK’s most endangered butterflies.
During the coming months, conservationists will co-ordinate a programme to widen woodland glades in a bid to reverse the 85% decline in pearl-bordered butterflies since 1990.
Workers will be involved in cutting back trees and coppicing in 14 woodlands around the Morecambe Bay limestones area.
The sudden decline in fritillary butterflies is not fully understood, although a key factor is said to be the loss of well managed coppice woodland.
It encourages violet flowers to flourish providing nectar food for the butterfly larvae. The work will also link up existing isolated butterfly colonies so that adults can move between breeding locations.
Jack Ellerby, Policy Officer for Friends of the Lake District which is co-ordinating the work with charity Butterfly Conservation, said: “The south Lakes area is a nationally important stronghold for endangered fritillary butterflies. By bringing woodlands back into active management we will not only increase butterfly numbers, but also improve the health of the woods overall for wildlife and the landscape, and help generate an income for the landowners, supplying timber for the local wood fuel market.”
Martin Wain, Butterfly Conservation's Morecambe Bay Limestones Conservation Officer, said: "It is wonderful to have the support of the Friends of the Lake District. This project will restore a network of sites, to enable the threatened pearl-bordered fritillary and other woodland butterflies to flourish, for the enjoyment of all who visit the area."