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A grant from conservation charity Friends of the Lake District will help to restore the habitat for one of the UK’s most endangered butterflies, the pearl-bordered fritillary. Over this autumn and winter the charity Butterfly Conservation will coordinate a programme of woodland management, including coppicing and cutting trees back to widen woodland glades, in 14 woodlands around the Morecambe Bay Limestones area in south Cumbria. The management programme aims to reverse the 85% decline in pearl-bordered butterflies since 1990.
The decline of fritillary butterflies is not fully understood, although a key factor is the loss of well managed coppice woodland, which opens up the woodland floor allowing violet flowers to flourish providing nectar food for the butterfly larvae. The woodland management work in south Cumbria will also link up existing isolated butterfly colonies so that adults can move between breeding locations.
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."
The project will work closely with local woodland owners and engage local contractors and conservation volunteers to carry out the work.
Jack Ellerby, Policy Officer for Friends of the Lake District 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.”
Funds are still available from the Friends of the Lake District’s environmental grants scheme, so if you have any project ideas to improve wildlife habitats or public access or restore other landscape or historic features, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 01539 720788.