Butterflies in continental decline

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Grassland butterflies in steep decline across Europe
Drop in 17 species’ populations indicates a catastrophic loss of flower-rich meadows in many European countries.

Martin Warren, chief executive of Butterfly Conservation (UK), said the data from 3,000 sites in 15 countries showed an urgent need for EU funding to support sustainable “high-nature-value farming”.

Flower-rich grassland created by traditional livestock-grazing and hay-making over centuries of human occupation is either being abandoned, overgrazed or ploughed up for intensive farming, particularly in eastern Europe and mountainous regions.
The Guardian (10 December, p.15)

Read about the big butterfly project at Sheepdrove >>>

Wild food crop relatives to be ‘rescued’
Scientists have announced a plan to collect and store the wild plant relatives of essential food crops, including wheat, rice, and potatoes. The project, co-ordinated by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, will collect and catalogue seeds from across the globe. The hope is that the wild relatives of food crops will help plant-breeders to “correct for”, not only a changing climate, but plant diseases and loss of viable agricultural land.
BBC News (10 December)

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