BUTTERFLY EDUCATION - Conservation of Butterflies
Conservation of Butterflies
Why butterflies are declining:
Destruction and alteration of habitats are principally responsible for the decline in butterfly populations. Some of the most serious threats are:
- The ploughing and improvement of grassland with fertilizers, herbicides or by resowing.
- The abandonment of coppices, which are being replaced by high forest, often conifers which shade out the undergrowth thereby destroying the conditions by many butterflies.
How can I help Butterflies?
Anyone with a garden can do a great deal to help the butterflies by planting the flowers and foodplants that the butterflies need. It is possible to attract butterflies into your garden which will give great pleasure and also an opportunity to observe them closely. In late summer the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies need quantities of nectar to build up their strength to survive the coming months of hibernation. Without adequate stores built up in their bodies they will die during hibernation before spring arrives.
Some of the flowers that are “butterfly favourites” are as follows:
|Sweet Rocket||Sweet William||Thrift|
The beautiful Holly Blue is one of the few butterflies that is steadily increasing its population and range in Ireland so please plant a Holly Bush in a sunlight spot as Holly is the main foodplant for this amazing little butterfly.If you see a small but bright blue butterfly in your garden taking an interest in either Holly or Ivy then you are most likely looking at a Holly Blue – They are on the wing from April to October.
Also you can help the “white butterflies” by planting Nasturtiums either in the garden or better still in window boxes. Both the Large White and the Small White Butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on Nasturtium rather than Cabbage which is where they earned the name and pest reputation of the Cabbage White Butterfly. They may have been a pest in the past but now they need some help to survive – plant some Nasturtiums early this year and let your children watch the caterpillars grow and become adult butterflies later during the summer.
Butterfly Farming in the tropics has been a great conservation success. There are now many breeding farms in the Philippines, Africa, Costa Rica, Peru, Thailand and Indonesia and they are producing large quantities of butterfly pupae for exhibitions and breeders worldwide.
These farms operate under strict government controls and export licences but as butterfly breeding is a very labour intensive operation there is considerable local employment generated and also an awareness that the environment needs to be protected in order to sustain their business.
In countries where the devastation of natural calamities has been aggravated by years of abuse of their natural resources it is now even more important that this kind of nature friendly farming is encouraged and supported.