Optimal timing of power line rights-of-ways management for the conservation of butterflies
Correspondence: Atte Komonen, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland. E-mail: email@example.com
- Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation are the main threats to biodiversity. Human activities also create new habitat types that might fulfil ecological requirements for a variety of species.
- This study investigates whether the vegetation clearing (=shrub and tree cutting) on drained mire patches on power line rights-of-ways (ROWs) keep plant communities in an early successional stage and thus provide habitats for mire specialist and non-mire butterflies. It was further studied what would be the optimal clearing interval in terms of butterfly species richness and abundance.
- The results show that tree height, especially the height of birch, increases linearly over the 7-year period following vegetation clearing. The average birch height had a significant negative relationship with the species richness of mire and non-mire butterflies.
- The clearing interval had a significant curvilinear relationship with the abundance of both mire and non-mire butterflies, such that the highest abundances were documented two to four growing seasons after the clearing, which would hence be the ecologically optimal vegetation clearing cycle.
- In general, vegetation management on power line ROWs enhance favourable conditions for butterflies and may maintain habitats for mire-dependent butterflies, even on drained mires.