City butterfly census

David Cappaert cappaert at
Mon Jun 23 12:10:26 EDT 1997

Ann Arbor, Michigan maintains an ongoing census of butterflies in city
natural areas.  We are able to do this with support from a 5 year bond
issue that also funds an inventory of plants, breeding birds, reptiles
and amphibians.  All of this data helps inform management efforts,
mainly to remove invasive plant species through manual removal,
re-seeding, and ecological burns.

The butterfly inventory uses an "adopt-a-park" approach with volunteers
(currently 15 people), offers training for volunteers, and provides some
time for experts to survey the richest areas.

The project is valuable, I think, because it raises people's awareness
of butterflies (and other bugs) as indicators of habitat quality, it can
give us some idea of how animals respond to habitat features (including
burn history and fragmentation), and because we might even find out
something new about local species -- ranges, flight periods,
interactions, etc.

Another reason I like this project (besides the fact that it gives me an
excuse to collect organized records) is that so far as I know, we are
the only city offically recording basic information on butterflies
(Washington DC apparently does have a similiar project for birds).

We would be interested in hearing from anyone that knows of a similiar
project.  We would also welcome ideas on how we might use the data
collected in this survey, which consists of ID's and relative abundance
of butterflies, as well as a very thorough database of plants in the
areas we census.

	-- David Cappaert (cappaert at
	   Natural Area Preservation
	   Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation
	   1831 Traver Rd
       Ann Arbor, MI 48105

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