Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Conservation
Conservation of butterflies and moths
With the loss of traditional farming methods, the use of mechanical hedge cutters and insecticides, our countryside has lost much of its wildlife. Our soils are often devoid of life and incapable of naturally supporting food production. Instead our farmers now rely almost entirely on oil based fertilisers in order to grow crops for both human and animal consumption
Habitat loss and creation
Butterflies are sensitive creatures. They are among the first creatures to respond to changes in the environment due to their complex life cycles. Changes in the way we manage the countryside can have dramatic effects on the wildlife which live there.

Habitat loss.
Habitat creation.
What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the term used to describe the incredible variety of life that has evolved on our planet over billions of years. So far 1.75 million species have been recorded. There maybe as many as 13 million in total, the vast majority being insects. Without a wide variety of plant, animal and insect life - and the ecosystems that support them - the human race would also find it impossible to survive.

Around half of the planet's natural environment had been converted for human use by 1990. The IUCN projects that a further 10-20% of grass and forest land could be converted by 2050. (source IUCN).

The World Wildlife Fund calculates that by 2050, humanity's resource use would need two-and-a-half Earths to be sustainable. (source IUCN/WWF Living Planet Report).

Protected species
Six species of butterfly are fully protected by law in the UK, these are the Heath Fritillary, Large Blue, Swallowtail, Marsh Fritillary, Large Copper and High Brown Fritillary.

Large Blue apparently collected from a site at Hartland, North devon on 5th July 1953.As a result primarily of habitat loss, these species have become very rare in the UK. It is a criminal offence to disturb or collect these from the wild. Other species are protected to a lesser extent.

Right: A Large Blue butterfly collected from a site at Hartland, North Devon on 5th July 1953 for sale on Ebay in 2010.

Protected species.
Collecting butterflies.