Mazarine blue butterflies are rare in the Netherlands and western Germany.
The “Natura 2000” network of protected areas runs across the EU as a conservation network for biodiversity. However, only a few studies have so far analysed whether these refuges actually have a positive effect on species diversity. Studies have predominately focussed on birds and have not shown any clear trends. Using long-term data from the “Butterfly Monitoring Germany” citizens’ research project, scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Halle, Germany, and the Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, have now investigated the matter using butterflies as an example. According to the research, there are more butterfly species in Natura 2000 areas than elsewhere. However, in the journal Diversity and Distributions the researchers reported the same decline in the numbers of species regardless whether the communities are located within or outside the protected areas: here.