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The butterfly effect: how one species' miraculous comeback could save the planet

27.05.2019
Příroda
The Duke of Burgundy is back from the brink - and the work to conserve it has helped other declining species. Does this mean there is hope in the face of Insectageddon?Giles Wood pauses on our walk in search of the elusive Duke of Burgundy. "Look at that hideous field of oilseed rape," he says, peering from the Wiltshire Downs over the Vale of Pewsey. "For an artist, it ruins the summer for two weeks." No yellow paint, says Wood, can do justice to its "nitrogen-enhanced meconium". The vast field poses another problem that the painter, environmentalist and one half of Giles and Mary, the upper-crust bohemians from Channel 4's Gogglebox, is acutely aware of. Despite the acres of nectar-bearing flowers, there are no insects in sight. Wood, who is a butterfly-lover, despairs. "What I really object to is the frequency of spraying [insecticides]. It gets everywhere, even into the fat of seals in the Arctic."Wood hopes to show me "the duke" - not one of his posh mates but a small golden insect that seven years ago was hurtling towards extinction in Britain. In 2012, it was found in 160 colonies. This sounds plenty, but 60% of these numbered fewer than 10 butterflies, and the species had vanished from at least 260 sites since 1980. Extinction experts observe how endangered species enter a kind of death spiral in their final years, beset by disease, climatic changes and cruel twists of fate. And the duke - its distribution falling by 84% since the 1970s - was relentlessly spiralling down. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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