Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 533120
Title The influence of wild boar (Sus scrofa) on microhabitat quality for the endangered butterfly Pyrgus malvae in the Netherlands
Author(s) Schaetzen, Frédéric de; Langevelde, Frank van; WallisDeVries, Michiel F.
Source Journal of Insect Conservation 22 (2018)1. - ISSN 1366-638X - p. 51 - 59.
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Butterflies - Conservation ecology - Ecosystem engineering - Habitat quality - Heathland - Herbivore impact
Abstract The decline of open habitats in Europe, such as semi-natural grasslands and heathlands, has caused a general decline in biodiversity, which has been well documented for butterflies. Current conservation practices often involve grazing by domestic livestock to maintain suitable butterfly habitats. The extent to which wild ungulates may play a similar role remains largely unknown. Through their rooting activity, wild boar could be effective to reduce grass encroachment and restore pioneer microhabitats that are vital to many grassland insects in temperate climates. Here, we assessed the microhabitat requirements of Pyrgus malvae, an endangered butterfly of heathland and grassland habitats in the Netherlands, with special attention for the influence of wild boar rooting. To date, oviposition site selection of this species has concentrated on calcareous grasslands, whereas we also include heathlands. Overall, larval occupancy was higher in warm, open and sparsely vegetated microhabitats, which supports earlier findings. In heathland, microhabitat occupancy was positively affected by bryophyte and litter cover. In heath-grassland mosaic, microhabitat occupancy was also influenced by bryophyte and litter cover, but in addition low grass cover increased occupancy by favouring host plants. In grassland, only low grass cover and host plant cover determined microhabitat quality. Across all habitats, occupied microhabitats were characterized by lower vegetation as well as higher average daytime temperatures than unoccupied microhabitats. We discovered that wild boar play an important role in reducing grass cover by shallow rooting in grass patches, thereby increasing host plant availability. Hence, wild boar may have an added value in maintaining and restoring P. malvae microhabitats in grassland habitats in addition to grazing by domestic livestock.
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