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Counting Europe’s butterflies


Over the past years, the decline in insects has been one of the main topics in biodiversity conservation in Europe. Being the most diverse group of species on earth, insects carry out vital roles in the maintenance of ecosystems. Monitoring such a diverse group, however, is difficult, especially when lacking the specific knowledge on how to recognise them.

Butterflies are well-known, easy to recognise insects. They represent the best monitored insect group in the world, and their popularity with the general public provides opportunity to further study their distribution. Furthermore, the play an important role as bioindicators. Next to the easy recognition, they are sensitive to change, globally make up over two-thirds of all species and play a vital role in the food-chain.

The Assessing Butterflies in Europe (ABLE) project is a major new project with the goal of creating a Europe-wide monitoring network. By gathering information on the distribution of butterflies, the project aims to improve targeting and efficiency of conservation measures across the European Union. Several Butterfly Monitoring Schemes (BMS) already exist, the project will build on these schemes and try to extend them to other countries. The information gathered through volunteers will then be gathered in a central database (the European Butterfly Monitoring Scheme – eBMS).

Are you excited to help out yourself? Go to the eBMS website to find out whether there is a BMS in your country.