Barbecue for butterflies

As the Met office announce that we are odds on for a barbecue summer, Butterfly Conservation launch a new campaign to get more people cooking alfresco in a bid to save endangered wildlife.

Three-quarters of British butterflies are in decline. The main cause is loss of habitat, particularly in our woodlands. Good management produces sunny open spaces in the woods where butterflies can thrive. Charcoal is just one of the products of coppicing – a sustainable way of managing woods which lets in the light.

Butterfly Conservation is urging people to buy British charcoal which supports the active management of our woodlands, which in turn creates a home for butterflies and other wildlife.

What you put on your barbecue can also make a difference. As the countryside is taken over by intensive farming, butterflies are losing the breeding and feeding habitats they rely on.

Traditional methods like using sheep and cattle to graze grassland are vital to maintain butterfly habitat. Butterfly Conservation is urging people to buy food from local farm shops and farmers’ markets supporting farmers who protect wildlife on their land.

Visit the barbecue web pagesfor tips on where to find great local food that supports biodiversity, as well as barbecue recipes and other ways to get involved in saving butterflies.

Dr Dan Hoare, Senior Conservation Officer for the South East said: “We’d like to see a summer long celebration of conservation.  By using British charcoal on your barbecue people can support great conservation work really easily, and enjoy great tasting food.

"We have seen fantastic results for butterflies on the brink of extinction in areas where we coppice trees and produce charcoal, firewood and other wood products. It shows we can manage our countryside in a productive way that leaves room for wildlife. You can enjoy great food and save butterflies at the same time if you just put a bit of thought into where you do your shopping”