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Posted Sun Dec 12 2010: from Guardian:
Grassland butterflies in steep decline across Europe
Butterflies that flourish on grassland across Europe are in steep decline, indicating a catastrophic loss of flower-rich meadows in many European countries. Populations of 17 butterfly species widely found in Europe, including the adonis blue, Lulworth skipper and marsh fritillary which fly in Britain, have declined by more than 70 percent in the past 20 years according to a new study by Butterfly Conservation Europe. The dramatic decline in butterfly numbers indicates a wider loss of biodiversity, with other insects such as bumblebees, hoverflies, spiders and moths, as well as many plants and birds, disappearing along with the loss of traditional grassland.... Flower-rich grassland created by traditional livestock-grazing and hay-making over centuries of human occupation is either being abandoned, overgrazed or ploughed up for intensive farming, particularly in eastern Europe and mountainous regions.
[Read more stories about: canary in coal mine, habitat loss, corporate farming]

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