Modelling potential success of conservation translocations of a specialist grassland butterfly

Risto K. Heikkinen*, Juha Pöyry, Raimo Virkkala, Greta Bocedi, Mikko Kuussaari, Oliver Schweiger, Josef Settele, Justin M J Travis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Success rates for conservation translocations of species are lowand there is a need for increased understanding of how this activity is best applied. Here, using static species distribution models and a spatially-explicit dynamic simulation model, RangeShifter, we examine the impacts of habitat cover in recipient landscapes, allocation of individuals into multiple sites and species trait characteristics on the long-term fate of hypothetical translocations of a grassland specialist butterfly, Maniola jurtina, in Finland. While persistence of populations introduced to climatically suitable locations northwards of the current range can be increased by selecting sites with increasing habitat cover and by allocation of individuals to multiple release sites, local population growth rate is shown to be the key parameter in determining likely translocation success. We conclude that the long-termpersistence of translocated habitat specialist butterflies, particularly with low growth rates, appears to be uncertain in modern-day fragmented grassland networks and that translocation activities should prioritize management that improves local growth rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Conservation
Early online date3 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding for this work was provided by the Academy of Finland project A-LA-CARTE. JMJT was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK. Most of the European distributional data were compiled by Otakar Kudrna within the framework of Kudrna (2002) and Kudrna et al. (2011). Kimmo Saarinen provided kindly the NAFI data for the study.


  • Conservation translocation
  • Dispersal
  • Dynamic modelling
  • Grassland conservation
  • Population persistence
  • Risk spreading


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