Wetland butterflies protection

Wetland butterflies protection

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

EC DG ENV E4 - Life Unit

Overall project value

EUR 638,068


August 2006 – March 2010

Beneficiary countries


Number of staff


The conservation of biodiversity in open habitats depends on the appropriate management of those habitats. The valuable ecosystems that have been created in open landscapes through the relationship between the natural world and the human population will only be preserved if natural resources are used in a rational way. Wetland butterflies are dependent not only on the existence of specific habitats, but also on the occurrence of specific plant species. The violet copper butterfly, for example, will not survive if it has no access to the common bistort (Polygonum bistorta L.) that grows in meadows.

The project focused on six butterfly species: the scarce large blue (Phengaris [Maculinea] teleius), the dusky large blue (Phengaris nausithous), the violet copper (Lycaena helle), the large copper (Lycaena dispar), the false ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus) and the marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia).

Project activities were implemented at four Natura 2000 sites: the Kampinos Woodlands, the Całowanie fen, Torfowiska Chełmskie and Torfowisko Sobowice.

Project activities were aimed at:

  • securing the best possible conservation status and upgrading the quality of the habitats of the target butterfly species by removing shrubs and re-sprouts, restoring destroyed habitats and ensuring appropriate hydrological conditions;
  • ensuring that habitats restored to use were cultivated by farmers (using EU funds under the agri-environmental programme) or subject to subsequent nature management actions; and
  • educating residents of the area, students and farmers.

Depending on the degree of degeneration assessed and the identified threats to habitats, the following activities were undertaken:

  • ensuring the continued good status of well-managed butterfly habitats by, for example, mowing in the late windy period (September) to allow the butterflies to develop;
  • mowing areas that had not been mown for several years;
  • removing shrubs in order to restore meadows whose natural values had already been lost, and repeating the procedure in subsequent years;
  • removing biomass from the restored area in order to improve less-fertile habitats;
  • deep ploughing in order to make shallow banks of undesirable seeds inactive and restore the original, lower-level fertility; and
  • removing the top layer of boggy soil to restore the habitat.
  • Active in situ nature protection
  • Educational activities
  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building
  • Promotion of sustainable agricultural management