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The Conservation of Butterflies in Britain, Past and Present, by John Feltwell

The Reviews

The Conservation of Butterflies in Britain

Past and Present, by John Feltwell

ISBN = 0 907970 02 8
Price = £10.00
Published = 1995
Review written = 29/July/1997
233 pages
This is really a very welcome addition to the sparse literature on insect conservation. Though it contains a few typos it is generally well presented and the free flowing style of the text makes for easy reading, a positive attribute in any book aiming at the non-specialist. John Feltwell is a well known expert on butterfly ecology and his personal observations and involvement with his subject add greatly to the enjoyability of this book. It contains loads of useful information not available elsewhere and must be considered essential reading for anyone trying to understand the ins and outs of butterfly conservation in Britain.
Generally this is an excellent book and the only fault I can pick with it is his synonymising the terms 'Flagship Species' and 'Keystone Species' and perhaps his failure to define the third part of this trilogy an 'Umbrella Species'. As I understand it a 'Keystone Species' is an ecological concept, i.e. a species which plays a pivotal role in the ecology of a habitat A 'Flagship Species' is a conservational concept, being a species whose attractiveness allows it to be used as a focus for gaining public support for the conservation of an area or habitat. The habitat conserved will undoubtedly contain many more, perhaps far rarer but less attractive, species. Though a species can be both it need not be, the Alexander Birdwing is an excellent 'Flagship Species' but it is not a 'Keystone Species' An 'Umbrella Species' is a species or group of species whose possession of a number of well defined characteristics makes them suitable as agents for monitoring the health of a habitat. Butterflies are often 'Flagship Species' and 'Umbrella Species' but I do not know of any that are 'Keystone Species'

It contains the following chapters; Introduction, Historical Background, Why Conserve Butterflies, Flagship Species, Conservation of the Swallowtail, Conservation of the Large Copper, Conservation of the Large Blue, Habitat Management, Threats to Butterflies, Butterflies and the Law, Voluntary Codes and Practices, Nature Reserves. It also contains 9 appendices including 3) Summary of RSNC policy on introduction, 4) A code for dealers and 8) Nature reserves for butterflies, a glossary, a useful list of acronyms and a 23 page bibliography. All in all, as far as British readers are concerned this is an excellent value for money buy and will hold its place in any library in the UK whether it be private, public or academic.
Highly Recommended

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