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Population of butterflies has halved since 1990

Researchers say this a worrying trend as these butterflies are useful indicators of the general health of ecosystems.

It was found that the Common Blue butterfly(Polyommatus icarus) has declined significantly.
It was found that the Common Blue butterfly(Polyommatus icarus) has declined significantly.
Image: Common Blue butterfly via Shutterstock

GRASSLAND BUTTERFLIES HAVE declined dramatically in the last two decades.

The blame has been put on intensifying agriculture and a failure to properly manage grassland ecosystems, according to a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Researchers say this a worrying trend as these butterflies are useful indicators of biodiversity and the general health of ecosystems.

Seventeen butterfly species were examined in ‘The European Grassland Butterfly Indicator: 1990–2011’, and it was revealed that eight have declined in Europe, two remain stable and one increased. For six species the trend is uncertain.

“This dramatic decline in grassland butterflies should ring alarm bells – in general Europe’s grassland habitats are shrinking. If we fail to maintain these habitats we could lose many of these species forever. We must recognise the importance of butterflies and other insects – the pollination they carry out is essential for both natural ecosystems and agriculture,” said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director.

Read: Fukushima caused mutant butterflies: scientists>

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Amy Croffey

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