IPCC launch monitoring scheme for endangered Large Heath bog butterfly

Published by David Hayden on

June 7th, 2017

The Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) is in the process of elaborating a rigorous monitoring methodology for the endangered Large Heath bog butterfly. The Lodge Bog Nature Reserve in County Kildare will be used as a demonstration site to build a monitoring toolkit for this species.

The National Biodiversity Data Center is currently compiling a five-year butterfly atlas which will track the Large Heath. Once tested the methodology will be rolled out for volunteers across Ireland in 2018.

The Large Heath Butterfly (Coenonympha tullia) is an endangered species of butterfly confined to bog habitats. It is the only Irish butterfly with a threat status of ‘vulnerable’ in the European Red List of Butterflies. In recent decades the butterfly has lost much of its habitat due to drainage, afforestation, peat extraction and turf cutting.

This species of butterfly can tell us a lot about the quality of our bogs if we can locate and identify it. For this reason, the IPCC is collaborating with the National Biodiversity Data Center (NBDC) in order to develop at toolkit and train citizens interested in butterflies and bogs.

IPCC will be hosting a workshop devoted to the monitoring of the Large Heath led by butterfly expert Jesmond Harding this Sunday. This workshop will provide training to volunteers from all across Ireland to identify and monitor the Large Heath butterfly.

“This workshop will not only raise the profile of this highly endangered but often overlooked species but it will train citizens to monitor the species across Ireland contributing to the NBDC’s Atlas and establishing this species’ current distribution and population size,” said Kate Geraghty, IPCC’s Conservation Officer.

The collaboration between the IPCC and the NBDC has been funded by Kildare County Council under their Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2017.

For more information about this project and to book a place on the Large Heath Monitoring Workshop please contact Katie at bogs@ipcc.ie

Large Heath Workshop Poster June 11, Bog of Allen

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David Hayden

David is a contributor to the Green News. He has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and French from UCD as well as a Master's Degrees in French literature and New Media from the University of California at San Diego and the Johns Hopkins University.