The European Butterfly Indicator for Grassland species: 1990-2015

Forskningsoutput: Bok/rapportRapport


This report presents the sixth version of the European Grassland Butterfly Indicator, one of the EU biodiversity indicators of the European Environment Agency.

The indicator is based on more than 9200 transects in national Butterfly Monitoring Schemes covering 22 countries across Europe, most of them active in the European Union. In 2015, counts were made in more than 4500 transects.

Butterflies represent the largest animal group (insects), highly included in food webs, having a high impact on ecosystem services and stability. This report does not represent only the patrimonial conservation of some species, but indicates the changes in biodiversity on grasslands and discusses underlying causes.

Fluctuations in numbers between years are typical features of butterfly populations. The assessment of change is
therefore made on an analysis of the underlying trend.

Indicators were produced on EU, European (EU plus Norway and Switzerland) and pan-European level (including Ukraine, Russia and Armenia).

The underlying analysis of the indicator shows that since 1990, grassland butterfly abundance has declined by 30%.

The rate of loss has slowed in the last 5-10 years. Part of this slowing down might be caused by climate warming, as this favours cold-blooded animals like butterflies, thus masking the effects of intensification. In parts of Western Europe butterfly numbers outside nature reserves have come to an absolute minimum, meaning it is unlikely for the indicator to further drop.

The priority now is to halt further losses and support recovery. This can only come about with greater protection and more sustainable management of semi-natural grassland.


  • Chris A.M. van Swaay
  • Arco Van Strien
  • Karen Aghababyan
  • Sandra Åström
  • Marc Botham
  • Tom Brereton
  • Bruce Carlisle
  • Chambers Paul
  • S. Collins
  • Claude Dopagne
  • Ruth Escobés
  • Reinart Feldmann
  • José María Fernández-García
  • Benoît Fontaine
  • Svetlana Goloshchapova
  • Ana Gracianteparaluceta
  • Alexander Harpke
  • Janne Heliölä
  • Gurgen Khanamirian
  • Benjamin Komac
  • Elisabeth Kühn
  • Andreas Lang
  • Patrick Leopold
  • Dirk Maes
  • Xavier Mestdagh
  • Yeray Monasterio-León
  • Miguel L Munguira
  • Tomás Murray
  • Martin Musche
  • Erki Õunap
  • Julien Piqueray
  • Serhiy Popoff
  • Igor Prokofev
  • Tobias Roth
  • David Roy
  • Reto Schmucki
  • Josef Settele
  • Constanti Stefanescu
  • Giedrius Švitra
  • Sérgio Marques Teixeira
  • Anu Tiitsaar
  • Rudi Verovnik
  • Martin S. Warren
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Butterfly Conservation Europe (BCE)
  • Dutch Butterfly Conservation
  • Statistics Netherlands
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • University of Basel
  • Research Institute for Nature and Forest
  • Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
  • Asociación Española para la Protección de las Mariposas y su Medio (ZERYNTHIA)
  • Autonomous University of Madrid
  • National Biodiversity Data Centre
  • University of Tartu
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
  • Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Granollers Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Lithuanian Entomological Society
  • University of Ljubljana
  • ТSЕ NGO Butterfly Conservation Armenia
  • Natural Environment Research Council
  • Butterfly Conservation (UK)

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Ekologi
Utgivningsort Wageningen, NL
FörlagDe Vlinderstichting
Antal sidor42
StatusPublished - 2016