There is growing acknowledgement of the importance of biodiversity in the wider countryside. Butterfly populations are an excellent way to monitor the health of an environment.
UK butterfly monitoring currently focuses on nature reserves and butterfly-rich places. This has led to a lack of monitoring in vast areas of the wider countryside. These areas include farmland, plantation woodland, uplands and urban green spaces
The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), run by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), has developed a new Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) method to gauge the changing abundance of widespread species in the general countryside.
70% of the UK’s land is in agricultural use. It is essential that butterflies in these areas are monitored to gauge the health of our countryside.
Over 600 dedicated volunteers surveyed more than 760 squares as part of the nationwide WCBS launch in 2009. The WCBS benefits from an excellent partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology Breeding Bird Survey recorders.
The method involves making a minimum of two visits to a randomly selected square near between May and August to count butterflies along two 1km survey lines running roughly north-south through the square. The survey will be co-ordinated centrally by Butterfly Conservation but with the help of a WCBS Champion in each Branch. The aim for 2017 is to resurvey all squares covered last year and more, so if you would like to take part, please do get in touch.
Visit the UKBMS website for more details and copies of instructions and recording forms.
- Download the results and feedback from 2016
- Download the results and feedback from 2015
- Download the results and feedback from 2014
- Download the results and feedback from 2013
- Download the results and feedback from 2012
- Download the results and feedback from 2011
- Download the results and feedback from 2010
- Download the results and feedback from 2009
For more information or to take part in 2017, email firstname.lastname@example.org