The proposed project aims to support five declining species of diurnal butterflies in Prague. The project will contribute to solving the issue of declining insect biodiversity in open habitats, which are a common type of matrix in landscapes outside protected areas. While most of the habitats within protected areas are adequately managed, the surrounding landscapes suffer from increasing land-use intensity or, on the contrary, sites are unmanaged and degraded due to overgrowing. As a result, protected areas become isolated islands within a hostile matrix. We believe/know that various sites within this open matrix have a huge conservation potential, which can be achieved through the improvement of existing sites or the creation of completely new high-quality habitats. We want to further increase the effectiveness of both approaches by applying flexible habitat management based on detailed biological knowledge of the different species. Flexible management is a feedback process, where the frequency and spatial distribution of management interventions is a response to the current situation at the site and the population trends of target species. Such an approach enhances the conservation potential of sites more efficiently compared to management based on pre-established plans.
Within the project, Czech and foreign partners with extensive experience in habitat management, insect ecology research, environmental education and practical nature conservation or its popularization will collaborate. The project will not only contribute to supporting populations of the target species, but it will also result in the promotion of modern nature conservation approaches and ensure effective environmental education.
Using a flexible management practice, we aim to:
– expand the suitable area for four target butterfly species that survived for a long time in the nearby area of Prokop valley to allow their future population growth and expansion
– continue the successful reintroduction program for the fifth target species, the locally-extinct Polyommatus thersites, and enable its further spread in Prague
– evaluate the impacts of management actions on target as well as non-target groups to optimize our management practices