Butterfly Conservation: The Development of a Pioneering Charity

  • Martin Warren


Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity in the UK whose aim is to conserve butterflies, moths and their habitats. It currently (September 2010) has 15,000 members, over 55 staff, and 31 volunteer Branches throughout the UK. Although much of its work is based in the UK, it helped establish Butterfly Conservation Europe in 2004, to stimulate and co-ordinate action across the continent. The following is a personal account of its development, taken from articles and observations that were gathered for the charity’s 40th anniversary in 2008.


Butterfly Conservation Land Rover Butterfly Monitoring Scheme Nature Conservancy Council Butterfly Habitat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to many people who have contributed information to the above account, especially Julian Gibbs, Martyn Davies, Tony Hoare, Harold Hughes, Nigel Bourn and Lester Cowling. I would also like to express my deep thanks to all the volunteers and staff who have helped make Butterfly Conservation a success.

Key References (Not all are referred to directly in the text)

  1. Asher J, Warren M, Fox R, Harding P, Jeffcoate G, Jeffcoate S (2001) The Millennium atlas of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Brereton T, Roy DB, Middlebrook I, Botham M, Warren M (2011) The development of butterfly indicators in the United Kingdom and assessments in 2010. J Insect Conserv 15:139–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conrad KF, Warren MS, Fox R, Parsons MS, Woiwod IP (2006) Rapid declines of common, widespread British moths provide evidence of an insect biodiversity crisis. Biol Conserv 132:279–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Department of the Environment (1994) Biodiversity: the UK action plan. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Department of the Environment (1995) Biodiversity: the steering group report. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Dover J, Shreeve TG, Warren MS (2011) Lepidoptera conservation in a changing world. Springer, Dordrecht, Proceedings of BC’s Sixth International Symposium at Reading 25–28 March, 2010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fox R, Asher J, Brereton T, Roy D, Warren M (2006a) The state of butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Pisces Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Fox R, Conrad KF, Parsons M, Warren MS, Woiwod IP (2006b) The state of Britain’s larger moths. Butterfly Conservation and Rothamsted Research, Wareham/DorsetGoogle Scholar
  9. Fox R, Randle Z, Hill L, Anders S, Wiffen L, Parsons MS (2011) Moths Count: recording moths for conservation in the UK. J Insect Conserv 15:55–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pullin AS (ed) (1995) Ecology and conservation of butterflies. Chapman & Hall, London, Proceedings of BC’s First International Symposium at Keele, 2003Google Scholar
  11. Roberts G, Warren MS (1994) Butterfly Conservation’s “New Life for Old Woods” campaign. Q J Forestry 88:205–209Google Scholar
  12. Settele J, Kudrna O, Harpke A, Kühn I, van Swaay C, Verovnik R, Warren M, Wiemers M, Hanspach J, Hickler T, Kühn E, van Halder I, Veling K, Vliegenthart A, Wynhoff I, Schweiger O (2008) Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Pensoft, Sofia and online:
  13. Thomas JA (2005) Monitoring change in the abundance and distribution of insects using butterflies and other indicator groups. Philos Trans Soc B 360:339–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Thomas JA, Telfer MG, Roy DB, Preston CD, Greenwood JJD, Asher J, Fox R, Clarke RT, Lawton JH (2004) Comparative losses of British butterflies, birds and plants and the global extinction crisis. Science 303:1879–1881PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Van Swaay CAM, Van Strien AJ (2005) Using butterfly monitoring data to develop a European grassland butterfly indicator. In: Kuehn E, Thomas J, Feldmann R, Settele J (eds) Studies on the ecology and conservation of butterflies in Europe. Proceedings of the Conference held in UFZ Leipzig, 5–9th of December, 2005Google Scholar
  16. Van Swaay C, Warren MS (1999) Red Data Book of European butterflies (Rhopalocera), vol 99, Nature and environment. Council of Europe, StrasbourgGoogle Scholar
  17. Van Swaay CAM, Warren MS (eds) (2003) Prime butterfly areas of Europe: priority sites for conservation. National Reference Centre for Agriculture/Nature Conservation and Fisheries, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  18. Van Swaay CAM, Van Strien AJ, Harpke A, Fontaine B, Stefanescu C, Roy D, Maes D, Kühn E, Õunap E, Regan E, Švitra G, Heliölä J, Settele J, Warren MS, Plattner M, Kuussaari M, Cornish N, Garcia Pereira P, Leopold P, Feldmann R, Jullard R, Verovnik R, Popov S, Brereton T, Gmelig Meyling A, Collins S (2010a) The European butterfly indicator for Grassland species 1990–2009. Report VS2010.010, De Vlinderstichting, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  19. Van Swaay C, Cuttelod A, Collins S, Maes D, Lopez Munguira M, Šašić M, Settele J, Verovnik R, Verstrael T, Warren M, Wiemers M, Wynhof I (2010b) European Red List of butterflies. Publications Office of the European Union, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  20. Warren MS, Bourn NAD (2010) Ten challenges for 2010 and beyond to conserve Lepidoptera in Europe. J Insect Conserv 15:321–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Warren MS, Hill JK, Thomas JA, Asher J, Fox R, Huntley B, Roy DB, Telfer MG, Jeffcoate S, Harding P, Jeffcoate G, Willis SG, Greatorex-Davies JN, Moss D, Thomas CD (2001) Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change. Nature 414:65–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wynne G, Avery M, Campbell L, Gubbay S, Hawkswell S, Juniper T, King M, Newbery P, Smart J, Steel C, Stones T, Stubbs A, Taylor J, Tydeman C, Wynde R (1995) Biodiversity challenge: Part 2. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, SandyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Butterfly ConservationDorsetUK

Personalised recommendations