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Population stability 'hope' in species' response to climate change
Date:1/5/2014

important conservation goal, which should increase the rate of distribution expansion for species with stable or increasing populations. However, habitat creation will not be effective for promoting range expansion by species whose populations are declining.

Population trends can be affected by many things, including local environment conditions, and in recent decades most British butterflies have undergone population declines. More effort is needed to boost abundances within species' current ranges in order to protect wildlife as the climate and landscape changes.

Louise Mair says: "My previous research revealed huge variation among butterflies in relation to their range expansion rates. It's now clear from our new research that much of this variation can be accounted for once species' population trends are known."

Professor Jane Hill at York says: "Increasing habitat availability in the landscape has been suggested as a way to help species respond to climate change, but our research shows this will only be effective for species whose abundances are stable or increasing."

Dr Richard Fox at Butterfly Conservation says: "We are grateful to the thousands of volunteer recorders who have collected these butterfly data over the past years. Their efforts and the information they've gathered are proving crucial to our understanding of the impacts of climate change on British butterflies. These latest research findings have important implications for our work to conserve threatened butterflies."

Dr Marc Botham, at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, says: "Our research highlights the importance of the long-running UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme for developing effective conservation measures for British butterflies."

Chris Thomas, Professor of Conservation Biology at York, adds: "Conservation management to increase species' abundances within their ranges is a vital step in the process of helping species respond to climate changes."


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Contact: David Garner
david.garner@york.ac.uk
44-019-043-22153
University of York
Source:Eurekalert

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