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A quantitative framework to guide restoration of butterfly communities in fragmented landscapes
Abstract and Figures
1. Recent studies have unveiled drastic declines in the diversity and numbers of insects worldwide, unfolding over the last decades. These results have brought insects to the forefront of conservation attention, ranging from mitigation actions planned by dedicated conservation agencies to efforts undertaken by the general public. Further, the conservation focus has necessarily shifted from single (highly endangered) species to multi-species plans, but such a shift can become a daunting task when dealing with several dozens of species. In the last two decades powerful methods have emerged to describe and analyze populations inhabiting fragmented landscapes that are the dominating landscape type in most highly industrialized countries. Moreover, especially studies of butterfly species have enabled deep metapopulation insights, in theory and practice. 2. The quantitative framework I present consists of two connected components. The first aims at mapping a butterfly species list onto habitat patches in a landscape to be restored, uncovering the structure of the butterfly-specific metapopulations. This mapping relies mainly on larval host plant species and the vegetation types they inhabit, but it can accommodate additional resources that ultimately foster the species’ presence. Further, the mapping produces additional data that can conveniently be analyzed using methods from network theory, yielding ancillary insights for restoration planning. Subsequently, the second component aims at analyzing the metapopulations guided by metapopulation theory, to quantify the effect of available restoration actions on ecological and genetic aspects. The weighted, summarized results at the community level are now amenable to decision analysis that ultimately allows selecting the most effective and efficient strategies in a rational way, based on project objectives, strategies, and constraints. I hope the presented framework – as a whole or parts of it – may help inform and guide butterfly restoration projects.
Figures - uploaded by Claudio Bozzuto
All figure content in this area was uploaded by Claudio Bozzuto
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