Butterfly Conservation, London Wildlife Trust and the Natural History Museum are working together to create and restore parts of south Croydon into chalk grassland ‘Living Landscapes’ that will come alive with butterflies, insects and wildflowers.
The project, which is being led by the London Wildlife Trust, is hoping to create new areas of habitat that can act as stepping stones to link up five of the Trust’s existing chalk downland nature reserves. This will encourage species like butterflies and moths to move between the sites and expand their breeding range. In order to achieve this, we will be working with local communities to transform their green spaces, including road verges and parks, turning them into areas full of wildflowers.
Butterfly Conservation will be providing advice on creating and managing these habitats for butterflies and moths. We will also reach out to local people to offer training in identifying and surveying butterflies and moths in their communities.
Our project will aim to help the following species:
- Grizzled Skipper butterfly
- Dingy Skipper butterfly
- Small Blue butterfly
- Chalk Hill Blue butterfly
- Marbled White butterfly
- Small Copper butterfly
- Bees and other pollinators
Why do butterflies need our help?
Many butterflies and insects are in serious trouble and the State of the UK’s Butterflies 2015 report evidenced that 76% of species have declined over the last 40 years. Research by Butterfly Conservation, the University of Kent and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) has since found that this decline is worse in urban than rural areas.
Butterflies are highly sensitive indicators of the health of the environment and play crucial roles in the food chain as well as being pollinators of plants.
How will Brilliant Butterflies help?
As well as providing vital homes for butterflies and insects, Brilliant Butterflies will capture vital monitoring data to help make a case for the future protection of the specialist sites, which are located in an increasingly vulnerable part of London’s Green Belt (a protected area of green land around London and the home counties).
This may include higher levels of protection, better protection from future development, and a better understanding of their role in sustaining London’s insect populations.
For more information on the project or how to get involved, please visit the London Wildlife Trust’s Brilliant Butterflies information page, or contact Butterfly Conservation’s Brilliant Butterflies Project Officer, Steve Bolton, @email.
Follow Steve and the latest news from the project on Twitter @bc_bolton