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Woodfuel & opportunities for butterfly conservation. Dr Dan Hoare & Dr Nigel Bourn. Outline. What’s the problem? What are we doing? How can woodfuel help? What needs to happen?. Distribution recording. BNM project (2000-04) >1,600,000 records from 3691 10km squares = 98.4% coverage.

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  • What’s the problem?
  • What are we doing?
  • How can woodfuel help?
  • What needs to happen?
distribution recording
Distribution recording

BNM project (2000-04)


records from 3691 10km squares

= 98.4% coverage

population monitoring from transects
Population monitoring from transects
  • Repeated counts over time
  • >1300 sites in total
  • Provides butterfly
  • population trends
  • Relates trends to habitat
  • types and condition
what s the problem

Thomas, J.A. et al. 2004, Science303, 1879-1881.

Datasets from last 20-40 years

What’s the problem?

72% of UK butterfly species in decline

the status of britain s moths 30 years of the rothamsted insect survey
The Status of Britain’s Moths30 years of the Rothamsted Insect Survey

Frequency distribution of the magnitude and change of moth populations.

(Changes of 10-25%, 25-50%, 50-75% and >75% are small, moderate,strong and very strong changes respectively).


East Blean Wood (KWT)

Thornden Wood


Clowes Wood


West Blean Wood


Ellenden Wood


Blean Woods NNR (Natural England, RSPB, Woodland Trust)

What are we doing?

  • Targeted habitat management for the rarest species




What are we doing?

Heath Fritillary numbers in response at Blean Woods, Kent

  • Need to maintain both number of colonies & habitat area
  • Co-ordinating additional Sweet Chestnut coppice is necessary
  • Targeting coppicing is vital
      • 1990 – 1992 only 18% of cut coppice coupes were colonised
      • 1998 – 2000 due to targeting, 75% were colonised

Grade A (green)GradeB (red)

What are we doing?

  • Forestry Commission Strategy for Lepidoptera

>100 woods identified as important to threatened butterflies

Grade A & B woods support UK BAP species

BC provide advice & monitoring to help maintain and improve habitat conditions

Incorporate butterfly requirements in forestry operations and Forest Design Plans


What are we doing?

  • South East Woodlands Project – establishing Landscape Scale conservation mechanisms

Management across ownership boundaries at population scale, using eWGS funds targeting key sites

What are we doing?


How can woodfuel help?

  • Our most threatened butterflies depend on rotational open space in woodlands
  • Woodfuel could be the mechanism that pays for much of the necessary management – supporting open space creation, diversifying woodland age structure, providing funds for other aspects of management
  • Woodfuel can underpin positive woodland management for biodiversity…

…if it’s targeted and regulated

  • This is an opportunity to solve a biodiversity crisis, as well as provide greener energy…

…but only if we find a way to link woodfuel with our conservation targets


What needs to happen?

  • We must establish woodfuel as a market that supports targeted biodiversity management (for our existing woodland resource)
  • Infrastructure investment is biggest current barrier
  • Two levels of working:
  • Local infrastructure developments where it’s needed, supporting biodiversity
  • Broad quality standards for woodfuel to ensure it isn’t harmful (certification/woodland cross compliance?)
  • Mechanism to ensure native timber woodfuel can compete with SRC/imports = regulation & added value