Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation
British butterflies and macro-moths are one of the best-studied insect faunas in the world. Comprehensive, long-term surveillance and monitoring datasets have been assembled with crucial input from thousands of volunteers, utilising their skills not only in field recording, but also in data compilation, database management, verification and quality control, and communication and feedback. The financial value of this volunteer effort is estimated at £7.5 million p.a.
The butterfly and moth data generated and gathered by volunteers is put to many uses to underpin biodiversity conservation, both directly (e.g. in site protection, informing planning decisions and targeting biodiversity initiative and expenditure) and indirectly (e.g. through ecological research and raising public and political awareness).
The strengths and weaknesses of volunteer-based recording and monitoring will be discussed and examples of successes from a range of schemes will be presented.