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Butterflies in Europe II

'Future of Butterflies in Europe II' is the title of an international symposium that was held in Wageningen from 17th until 19th April 2008. Dutch Butterfly Conservation (De Vlinderstichting) organised this symposium to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This year, our counterpart in the United Kingdom, British Butterfly Conservation, has reached the honorable age of forty years. But we are also looking ahead, hence the title of the present symposium.

Future of Butterflies in Europe II was the second symposium that we have organised on this theme. The first was in 1989, with some ninety participants from seventeen countries. This time, there were over a hundred and fifty participants representing twenty-five countries, mainly European, and now including many from Central and Eastern Europe.

Since the first symposium, butterfly science has developed tremendously. Outstanding contributions have been made in the fields of population dynamics in fragmented landscapes, climate change and shifts in distribution, population genetics, ecological relations between butterflies and host plants or host ants, and, of course, conservation management. Moreover, moths are increasingly being studied.

Due to their short life cycle, butterflies and moths are very sensitive to environmental change. Furthermore, they are popular, attracting large numbers of amateurs who deliver an enormous flow of records on distribution and abundance. Thus, butterflies in particular are increasingly used as indicators for biodiversity in EU policy and as tools in conservation management. At present, however, existing agri-environment schemes frequently fail to meet their objectives of sustaining biodiversity! Several presentations at the congress stressed the urgent need for targeted adaptation and widespread implementation of butterfly-friendly agri-environment schemes.

Dutch Butterfly Conservation actively promotes scientific research: specific knowledge is badly needed to stop the unprecedented decline of butterflies in the Netherlands and Europe and to set them on the road to recovery. This symposium brought together Europe’s leading butterfly scientists to on that mission. Volunteers are invaluable in this endeavour, because of their dedication to butterfly recording. We were therefore proud to launch European on-line recording during the congress!

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Laatste wijziging: 9 november 2009
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