New book on Prime Butterfly Areas in Europe available

Chris van Swaay chrisvanswaay at
Fri Nov 28 04:01:46 EST 2003

We have great pleasure in announcing a new book: Prime
Butterfly Areas of Europe: Priority Sites for
Conservation. This publication has been possible
thanks to funding from the Dutch Ministry for
Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, and
contributions from our two organisations. It includes
data from across Europe owing to the invaluable
efforts of voluntary compilers in each country, based
often on many decades of data gathered by professional
and amateur recorders.

The book follows the publication of the Red Data Book
on European Butterflies in 1999, which highlighted the
crisis facing butterflies. Over 71 species were
identified as threatened at the European level and
many more were shown to be declining over substantial
parts of their ranges. One key recommendation was to
identify Important Butterfly Areas where conservation
effort should be focussed. The scope of the current
book was however limited by the funding available and
the short time of the study, at just over one year.
Consequently we have decided to identify sites for
just 34 target species which most need conservation.
We are currently seeking funding for a more
comprehensive review that would identify a more
comprehensive list to go alongside that already
produced for birds by Birdlife International and being
planned for plants by Plantlife International.

In addition to identifying 431 Prime Butterfly Areas
(PBAs), the book highlights key issues facing
butterflies in Europe, even on protected areas.
Foremost amongst the threats are agricultural
intensification, afforestation, isolation of
populations, and land abandonment. While there is some
good news that 44% of PBAs are protected in some way
by national laws, the remaining majority are either
completely unprotected or the conservation status is
unknown. Thus the future of many sites is precarious
and we urge all recipients to press for improved
conservation measures on PBAs as a matter of urgency.
We know that most sites are important for a wide range
of wildlife species and the conservation of PBAs will
make a major contribution to the conservation of
biodiversity across Europe. We will be working with
colleagues to ensure this and to use the data to
support initiatives such as Natura 2000, the Pan
European Ecological Network, the Emerald Network and
the Bern Convention.

The book (696 pages) can be ordered by sending an
email to info at
The price is 39 Euro (but only 25 Euro for people from
non-EU countries in Eastern Europe) plus 9,50 Euro
postage and packing.

Further information on our two organisations can be
found on our websites: and

Chris van Swaay (Dutch Butterfly Conservation)
Martin Warren (British Butterfly Conservation)

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