scarce vs local

Chris Raper cmt.raper at
Thu Aug 24 04:33:53 EDT 2000

On 23 Aug 2000 09:56:46 -0700, Norbert.Kondla at (Kondla,
Norbert FOR:EX) wrote:

>My take on this issue of scarce vs local butterflies is that it is a real
>and fundamentally important distinction when discussing degrees of
>endangerment or non-endangerment of butterflies.  Scale is especially
>important when reflecting on local vs widespread.  for example a species may
>occupy a substantial absolute area of several hundred square
>miles/kilometres with very healthy populations that are not under any kind
>of threat.  But if you 'assess' this species within the context of a large
>country that occupies millions of square miles/kilometres then it would be
>deemed to be 'local' and hence some people may be deceived into
>automatically thinking that it is a subject of conservation concern. 

Hi Norbert

This issue is the same for a comparatively tiny place like the UK.
Here we have species that are defined as 'local' or 'rare' - but this
doesn't tell you anything about whether the species is in decline or
not. However, it might tell you where a particular piece of habitat is
very valuable because the species isn't found anywhere else. It might
also give you an insite into what it is about that piece of habitat
that is so important - ie. why they haven't spread to other similar

Anyway, like you, I think you always need an idea of population trends
before you can highlight species that are actually in decline and
therefore in need of severe protection and possible habitat
restoration projects etc. This is why it is so important for members
of the public to send records into their local recording centres on a
yearly basis.

Best wishes,
Chris R.

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