Protection of the Marsh Fritillary

The Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) was formed in 1982 to ensure the conservation of a representative sample of Irish bogs and fens. Its activities include education and publicity, encouraging the protection and conservation of our national heritage.

IPCC owns and manages a number of peatlands for conservation in Counties Kildare and Waterford, also running the Bog of Allen Nature Centre which is open to visitors and school groups and IPCC provide an extensive information service via its website.

The project is aimed at protecting, enhancing and conserving the Marsh Fritillary Butterfly on Lullymore West Bog, Co. Kildare, Ireland. In addition to the Marsh Fritillary, the site is one of important wet land biodiversity and is valuable as an educational centre for peatland environments
By restoring and regenerating a cutaway peatland site, the project will maintain the internationally threatened Marsh Fritillary Butterfly population as well as expanding the area of suitable habitat for it and other species. This will be done through re-establishing the area’s natural drainage, setting boundaries, creating dedicated paths, gates and signage

A scientific analysis of the ecosystem will be used to structure the project with direct work being undertaken by volunteers. In addition there is a strong educational element both for visitors and the local population aiming to leave a lasting heritage for both wildlife and recreational visitors.

The Update

54 volunteers worked for a total of 450 hours on this project. They recorded butterfly populations, were involved in site cleanups, took photos and measured the abundance of the food plant of the butterfly. In total 21 different species of butterfly were recorded. The greatest number of species present was recorded in May and September with an average of 33-34 butterflies. Not only did the project document the butterflies in their habitats, but it also erected over 1000m of fencing, a stile, two paddock gates and an information panel.

The project has increased knowledge and education about Irish butterfly biodiversity. It has also highlighted and demonstrated the actions that are necessary to maintain and enhance butterfly diversity on the peatland sites, including the rare and internationally important marsh fritillary butterfly.

The next step of the project is to ensure the authorities designate the Lullymore West Bog a Natural Heritage area due to its biodiversity.