Conservation of grassland butterflies in Finland under a changing climate

Anna Tainio, Risto K. Heikkinen, Janne Heliölä, Alistair Hunt, Paul Watkiss, Stefan Fronzek, Niko Leikola, Sanna Lötjönen, Olga Mashkina, Timothy R. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the potential impact of climate change on grassland butterfly species in Finland. It combines multiple climate change scenarios and different impact models for bioclimatic suitability to capture multi-faceted aspects of uncertainty. It also evaluates alternative options to enhance the adaptation of grassland biodiversity. Due to the long-term decline of semi-natural grasslands, their current extent in Finland is much lower than the minimum level estimated to ensure the survival of butterfly species. Projected locations of the climatically most suitable areas for butterfly species varied considerably between different modelling techniques and climate change scenarios. This uncertainty needs to be taken into account in planning adaptation responses. Analysis of potential adaptation options considered the promotion of existing measures based on the agri-environmental scheme (AES), as well as new measures, including species translocation and dispersal corridors. Current AES options were compared using a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA). The CEA results indicated that buffer zones are the most cost-effective AES measure, although environmental fallows and buffer zones had broadly similar cost-effectiveness. The cost of translocation was relatively modest compared to that of dispersal corridors, due to the high number of habitat stepping stones required along potential dispersal corridors. A questionnaire survey of Finnish farmers revealed that a third of the respondents supported increases in nature conservation. Thus, large increases of the uptake of biodiversity-related AES measures among farmers may prove to be difficult. Given the small areas currently assigned for such measures, the prospects for the adaptation of grassland butterflies to climate change in Finland appear unfavourable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Volume16
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
ISSN1436-3798
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences

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