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 Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

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: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>