Uncovering Britain's countryside butterflies

Hundreds of volunteers have signed up to help scientists uncover new information about butterfly declines.

Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology have developed the new Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS).

UK butterfly monitoring usually focuses on nature reserves and butterfly-rich places. There is a shortage of information about vast areas of the wider countryside.

Dr Katie Cruickshanks, project coordinator said: "Seventy per cent of the UK's land is in agricultural use so it's essential that butterflies in these areas are monitored. It's fantastic that so many people have signed up to help gauge the health our countryside.

"This project will give us the first truly representative picture of the health of butterflies in widespread habitats such as lowland instensive farmland and upland moorland."

The survey requires just two visits in July-August to a randomly selected 1km square and there is still time to take part. For more information please contact WCBS co-ordinator Dr Katie Cruickshanks or visit the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme website.