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Conservation Research Institute


Banking on Butterflies

A new collaborative project has been launched between the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust (a CCF partner) and the Insect Ecology Group in the Department of Zoology (UCCRI), which is being officially launched on Thursday 8th July. The project is led by Gwen Hitchcock and Ryan Clark from BCNWT, and Ed Turner and Andrew Bladon from Zoology. The project is funded by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) and the People's Postcode Lottery (PPL) Nature-based Solutions fund.

"Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust is working with the University of Cambridge to mitigate the impacts of climate change for temperature sensitive butterflies. The project - which is the first of its kind - will see topographical features created in chalk grassland to provide suitable niches within existing habitat even as the climate changes. By creating variable topography on flatter reserve areas, conservationists hope to help butterflies including the small blue, the chalkhill blue, and the nationally rare Duke of Burgundy. Researchers will record and analyse data to determine the success of the scheme, which may then be mirrored at other sites. Protecting and boosting the abundance of insects is central to restoring functioning ecosystems, which are so critical to tackling the climate crisis."

The project is running alongside a CCI Knowledge Exchange Studentship recently awarded to our PhD student, Esme Ashe-Jepson, which will create and monitor a replicate set of banks on a second local reserve - doubling the impact of the projects.