Century-long butterfly range expansions in northern Europe depend on climate, land use and species traits

Johanna Sunde, Markus Franzén, Per Eric Betzholtz, Yannick Francioli, Lars B. Pettersson, Juha Pöyry, Nils Ryrholm, Anders Forsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change is an important driver of range shifts and community composition changes. Still, little is known about how the responses are influenced by the combination of land use, species interactions and species traits. We integrate climate and distributional data for 131 butterfly species in Sweden and Finland and show that cumulative species richness has increased with increasing temperature over the past 120 years. Average provincial species richness increased by 64% (range 15-229%), from 46 to 70. The rate and direction of range expansions have not matched the temperature changes, in part because colonisations have been modified by other climatic variables, land use and vary according to species characteristics representing ecological generalisation and species interactions. Results emphasise the role of a broad ecological filtering, whereby a mismatch between environmental conditions and species preferences limit the ability to disperse and establish populations in emerging climates and novel areas, with potentially widespread implications for ecosystem functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number601
Number of pages14
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun 3

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s).

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ecology


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