Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 13–23 | Cite as

The importance of viticultural landscape features and ecosystem service enhancement for native butterflies in New Zealand vineyards

  • Mark Gillespie
  • Steve D. Wratten
Original Paper


The fragmentation of habitats in intensively managed farming landscapes is often considered to be partly responsible for butterfly population decline in Europe and the USA. Although relatively little is known about New Zealand butterfly ecology, agricultural landscapes in lowland New Zealand are managed similarly to those in Europe and ecosystem services (ES) in these landscapes are generally at a low level. In the northern hemisphere, attempts are being made to address the problem through agri-environment schemes, but such farmer compensation is not available in New Zealand. Instead, landowner- and research-led initiatives are currently the only potential approaches. One such project in the Canterbury province, New Zealand, is the Greening Waipara project. This aims to return native plants to viticultural landscapes and enhance ES, and while research has sought to quantify economic benefits of the project, there has been no work to establish if the plantings are improving or are likely to improve non-target invertebrate biodiversity, for example arthropods that are not biocontrol agents. In the first study of its kind in New Zealand, butterfly surveys were conducted in vineyards and linear mixed modelling techniques were used to identify the most important vegetation and structural features which may influence butterfly distribution. While the native planting areas were not important for butterflies, remnant patches of native vegetation in unproductive areas were vital for sedentary species. These results are discussed in relation to the conservation of native species in New Zealand vineyards and in the context of conservation in and around farmland in general.


Conservation Host plants Lycaena salustius Nectar Vegetation Zizina oxleyi 



This work could not have been completed without the fieldwork assistance of Mariska Anderson and Emma Thomas. Thanks also to Brian Patrick, George Gibbs, Tim New and Nick Sotherton for valuable advice and comments on the work as it progressed, and to the vineyard owners who allowed us access to their properties. Mark Gillespie was funded by a New Zealand Educated International Doctoral Research Scholarship (NZIDRS) and by the Bio-Protection Research Centre of Lincoln University and the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST; LINX 0303).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bio-Protection Research CentreLincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand

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