Butterflies in Estonian Coastal Grasslands: Insights from SHOWCASE’s Experimental Biodiversity Area

21 November 2023

On 18 November 2023, at the 15th ELLS Scientific Student Conference, Jevgenia Fjodorova presented her bachelor thesis about the impact of management and landscape features on butterfly assemblages in Estonian coastal grasslands, part of SHOWCASE’s Experimental Biodiversity Area. Access her presentation here.

Her study revealed a fascinating connection between land management practices, landscape features, and butterflies. Coastal grasslands managed through grazing, especially those located on sandstone bedrock, exhibited the highest number of specimens and species richness. The impact of edge effect was significant across different landscape regions and land use types.

One of the noteworthy conclusions drawn from the research is that butterfly abundance was significantly higher on the mainland side of coastal grasslands compared to the seaside, irrespective of land use. Additionally, the extent of managed areas, including grasslands and agricultural lands in the surrounding landscape, emerged as a critical factor directly influencing most butterfly species.

The data analysis provides a robust foundation for future investigations into the dynamic interplay between coastal grassland management, surrounding landscape and butterfly assemblages. These preliminary findings open up new avenues for understanding and conservation efforts aimed at preserving the ecosystems of coastal grasslands.