Evidence from our recording and monitoring schemes shows that both butterflies and moths are in long-term decline in the UK.
Over 70% of our butterfly species have declined in occurrence and/or abundance since the 1970s (The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2022) and two-thirds of our common and widespread moths declined in abundance between 1968 and 2007 (The State of Britain’s Larger Moths 2013).
One of Butterfly Conservation’s core aims is to halt and reverse the declines of the most threatened butterflies and moths in the UK. To make best use of our resources we have focused our conservation efforts on those species most under threat either because are very rare or in the steepest long-term decline.
Our UK Conservation Strategy explains how and why butterflies and moths have declined in recent decades and how we have prioritised 26 butterfly and 103 moth species for conservation action. For most threatened species a landscape-scale approach to their conservation is required and the strategy explains how 200 priority landscapes across the UK have been identified where action is most needed. The strategy also describes our main conservation delivery mechanisms and goes on to identify which actions are required to halt and reverse the decline of our most threatened species.
The supporting data for the strategy is included in a series of appendices. These summarise how threatened butterflies (Appendix 3) and moths (Appendix 4) have been assessed and prioritised, our priority landscapes and the threatened species they support (Appendix 5), the conservation progress already made in those landscapes (Appendix 6) and the conservation actions required in the future for each threatened butterfly (Appendix 7) and moth (Appendix 8).
Whilst the UK Conservation Strategy provides a broad framework for our conservation delivery across the United Kingdom, we have also identified priorities at country and regional scales. Each regional or country conservation strategy includes an assessment of species threats and conservation priority at a regional or country level. Priority landscapes and sites have been mapped, and the key conservation actions for each priority species identified.
Before viewing a regional country and or regional strategy, we recommend reading the Introduction to Country and Regional Conservation Strategies 2025 which describes how each was compiled.
Country conservation strategies are available for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In England, regional conservation strategies are available for Northern England, West Midlands, East Midlands, East England, South West England and South East England.