There has been a significant reduction in most butterflies in Sweden. This is primarily because most plants on which the butterflies are dependent, both for finding food and reproducing, have declined as the farmers' mowing methods have changed. Certain butterfly species are also affected by forestry.
A couple of the species in difficulty are the baptria tibiale and the lycaena helle. In Sweden, these are both considered to be endangered and they are included in Sweden's ÅGP list, a list of threatened or rare species that require special action programs to assist recovery. Many other butterflies and insects are also benefiting from the measures being taken here.
The area around Jämtkrogen is known among butterfly enthusiasts throughout Sweden because so many species are present there. What makes the area special is that the soil is unusually calcareous, which provides conditions in which many herbs thrive and they in turn attract butterflies.
To help the butterflies, SCA adapts its forest maintenance along its forest roads in the area and the Swedish Transport Administration adapts its maintenance along the E14 highway. It is important, for example, to cut back the roadsides often enough so that bushes do not manage to grow and to do so at the right time of the summer.
"If you cut too early, the plants won't have managed to flower and if you do it too late, you benefit the grass instead of the plants," explains Håkan Blomquist, SCA's conservation specialist in Jämtland.
- cut down trees in various places in the forest to create small clearings
- cleared along pathways to create corridors in which the butterflies can have warmth and sunlight
- ensure that there are always logs of the right age to suit the butterflies by
- distributing felling over several years
- planting sallow, which is the very first to flower in the spring, to benefit bumblebees and other pollinators.
The work on the area began on a small scale five years ago, even before SCA and the county administrative boards had designated it a butterfly park, and it has produced clear results.
"The county administrative board conducted an inventory of the number of baptria tibiale butterflies both before and after the measures were taken and it is great to see that it has increased. It is likely that many other species have also benefited," says Håkan.