Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quarries may be last chance for many rare European butterflies

24.07.2003


While European environmentalists see quarries as scars in the Earth, these industrial operations may actually play a critical role in preserving rare species. New research shows that quarries provide the only suitable habitat for at-risk butterflies in some places, suggesting that current policies of filling in old quarries are misguided.



"Increasing evidence is revealing the counterproductivity of such practices," say Jiri Benes, Pavel Kepka and Martin Konvicka, all of the University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, in the August issue of Conservation Biology.

Throughout Europe, butterflies that depend on warm, dry areas have declined because many of the steppe-like grasslands that provide this habitat have been lost to intensified agriculture, conifer plantations and urbanization. Two of the researchers (Benes and Konvicka) have been butterfly enthusiasts since childhood and noticed as high school students that many steppe grassland species were essentially found only in quarries in the Czech Republic’s Moravian Gate, one of Europe’s most important north-south migration corridors. Thus, the researchers were concerned that these butterflies would be further threatened by the Czech Republic’s policy of reclaiming old quarries, which usually means covering them with topsoil and planting trees.


To see if quarries can help compensate for the loss of steppe habitat in Europe, Benes and his colleagues surveyed the diversity and abundance of butterflies in 21 limestone quarries in the Moravian lowlands. The researchers surveyed the butterflies in four habitat types: recently excavated rock, sparsely vegetated, herbaceous plants, and trees and shrubs.

The researchers found that quarries serve as refuges for two groups of butterflies that depend on steppe-like habitats. The first group comprises 20 species, nine of which are threatened in the Czech Republic, that thrive in active quarries because they prefer habitats such as rocks and stony terraces. While managing reserves to maintain such habitats would be an ongoing and costly task, "the service is provided for free in the quarries as a side-effect of the excavation," say Benes and his colleagues.

The second group comprises 19 species, 10 of which are threatened in the Czech Republic, that thrive in old quarries because they prefer habitats that grow on previously excavated surfaces, notably scrubby forest-steppes. These habitats are virtually gone elsewhere in Central Europe because managers of steppe reserves there typically remove scrub in favor of orchids and other charismatic plants.

More than half of the quarries studied are in areas that no longer have any natural steppe grasslands. "The quarries are thus the only chance for preserving steppe butterflies there," note Benes and his colleagues. They recommend operating active quarries and managing old ones to maintain the bare rock and scrubby habitats that the two groups of steppe butterflies require. "Conservationists should pragmatically exploit these opportunities by cooperating with quarry operators," they say.

Contact:

Jiri Benes, 0042-38-7772251, Benes.J@post.cz
Pavel Kepka, 0042-38-7772251, kepka@foxy.cz
Martin Konvicka, 0042-38-7772251, konva@tix.bf.jcu.cz

Jiri Benes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://conbio.net/scb
http://conservationbiology.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>