Wetlands Butterflies - Conservation and upgrading of habitats for rare butterflies of wet, semi-natural meadows

LIFE06 NAT/PL/000100

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Michał MIAZGA
Tel: +48 22 824 35 94
Fax: +48 22 8229401
Email: recpl.miazga@data.pl

Project description:


The project’s target species – the butterflies Maculinea teleius, Maculinea nausithous, Lycaena helle, Lycaena dispar, Coenonympha oedippus, Euphydryas aurinia – occur on wet, semi-natural meadows (Calthion and Molinion) and are decreasing in number across Europe.

The host organisms of these target species (plants and also ants for Maculinea butterflies) are threatened as a result of habitat degradation – mainly due to the encroachment of shrubs. Adverse factors include: the abandonment of land, severe drainage, eutrophication and other forms of intensification, fragmentation and isolations of populations, lack of public awareness and communication between authorities and land owners, and the lack of proper nature management practice.

Land abandonment and intensification of agriculture are the result of the economic transformations that have occurred in the past 20 years. Homogenisation of landscape, increased use of chemicals in agriculture and lack of extensive management have contributed to the loss of target habitats and butterflies. A lack of awareness and communication among stakeholders in Natura 2000 sites, as well as lack of good management practice, mean that little or inadequate action is taken to conserve butterflies.


The main goal of the project was to secure the best possible conservation status and upgrade the quality of habitats of the target butterfly species: Lycaena helle, Lycaena dispar, Maculinea teleius, Maculinea nausithous, Euphydryas aurinia, Coenonympha oedippus.

Specific objectives of the project were to:

    • Reverse forest-succession of wet meadows inhabited by the target butterfly species and return them to extensive agricultural use;
    • Raise the water level on drained wet meadows, which are loosing host plant species of the target butterfly species;
    • Draw up and implement specialised management plans for the target species;
    • Develop integrated management systems for sites inhabited by the target species;
    • Secure the implementation of the mechanisms of sustainable conservation and EU-supported programmes in the Natura 2000 sites;
    • Raise public awareness and secure the implementation of good management of the Natura 2000 sites.


    The project focused on the re-creation of meadows on degraded areas at four Natura 2000 sites in Poland: Puszcza Kampinoska, Torfowiska Chelmskie, Bagno Calowanie and Torfowisko Sobowice. A range of species-specific habitat management activities were undertaken including: removal of shrubs on 383 ha; first mowing on 249 ha of long-time abandoned meadows and regular mowing introduced on the total area of 428 ha; restoration of hydrological conditions for the target butterfly species habitats on 150 ha; and the recreation of target species habitats in strategic sites by enhancing the host plant species composition on 82 ha of meadows. Moreover, nearly 14 ha of land were purchased in the project site, the Kampinoski National Park, for the conservation of target butterfly species.

    The project introduced a biomass reception and utilisation system in the project sites, and the hay collected from the meadows mown within the scope of project is now used by local farmers in several sustainable ways. It also trained 90 agri-environmental advisers organised agri-environmental trainings for 50 farmers and drew up 30 agri-environmental plans covering 392 ha.

    Finally, the project placed a strong emphasis on raising public awareness of the project objectives, the Natura2000 network and nature conservation in general. A range of dissemination materials were produced and distributed to the stakeholders and wider public, six workshops for teachers were organised, around 100 teachers were trained, 30 excursions for school children organised (attended by 744 pupils and 60 teachers) and an informative project website set up (www.rec.org.pl/life).

    The project also established two new nature trails – one in the project site Puszcza Kampinoska and one in the project site Torfowiska Chelmskie – and also renovated one nature trail in the project site Bagno Calowanie. An attractive guidebook for each of these education trails was published. Finally, an international conference “Wetlands aLive” with 116 registered participants was held in 2010 in Warsaw in co-operation with other similar initiatives/organisations (e.g. the Ramsar Convention Secretariat).

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Conservation Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Invertebrates
Habitats - Grasslands


endangered species‚  protected area‚  land purchase

Target species

 Coenonympha oedippus   Euphydryas aurinia   Lycaena dispar   Lycaena helle   Maculinea nausithous   Maculinea teleius 

Target Habitat types

  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 7140 - Transition mires and quaking bogs
  • 7230 - Alkaline fens
  • 91D0 - Bog woodland
  • 6120 - Xeric sand calcareous grasslands

Natura 2000 sites

SCI PLC140001 Puszcza Kampinoska
SCI PLH060023 Torfowiska Chełmskie
SCI PLH060024 Torfowisko Sobowice
SCI PLH140001 Ostoja Bagno Całowanie



Coordinator Regional Environment Center for Central and Eastern Europe
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) is a non-profit independent international organisation established in 1990 by Hungary, the United States and the Commission of the European Communities. Twenty-five nations have since joined. The mission of the REC is "to assist in solving the environmental problems in new Member States, Candidate Countries, South Eastern Europe, EECCA (Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia) and Turkey through the promotion of cooperation among non-governmental organisations, governments, businesses and other environmental stakeholders, the free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision-making”.
Partners Save Wetlands Association (Stowarzyszenie Chronmy Mokradla), Poland Provinciale Vereniging voor Natuurbescherming It Fryske Gea (IT Fryske GEA), Netherlands Kampinoski National Park (Kampinoski Park Narodowy), Poland Mazowiecki Landscape Park (Zarzad Parków Krajobrazowych Mazowieckiego, Chojnowskiego i Brudzenskiego), Poland The Board of Chelmski Landscape Park in Chelm (Zarzad Chelmskich Parków Krajobrazowych), Poland Institute for Land Reclamation and Grasland Farming (Instytut Melioracji i Uzytkow Zielonych), Poland


Project reference LIFE06 NAT/PL/000100
Duration 01-AUG-2006 to 31-MAR -2010
Total budget 1,278,164.00 €
EU contribution 639,082.00 €
Project location Mazowieckie(Poland Polska) Lubelskie(Poland Polska)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (PL/EN)
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan Annex to the After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Ścieżka dydaktyczna „Wokół Opalenia” ‑ przewodnik ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool "BAGNO CAŁOWANIE - Przewodnik po ścieżce przyrodni ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool "ŚCIEŻKA PRZYRODNICZA MOTYLOWE ŁĄKI - przewodnik" ...


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version