Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Power-line corridors as source habitat for butterflies in forest landscapes

Berg, Åke; Bergman, Karl-Olof; Wissman, Jörgen; Zmihorski, Michal; Öckinger, Erik


Modern intensified agriculture has decreased farmland heterogeneity, which has led to strong negative effects on farmland biodiversity. However, partly forested landscapes seem to offer many alternative habitats for open habitat species such as butterflies, since modern forestry and development of infrastructure has created several new environments such as forest road verges and power-line corridors. The aim of the present study was to investigate the importance of power-line corridors (PLCs) as butterfly habitats by testing i) if species richness and abundance of butterflies in PLCs are affected by adjacent habitat composition (i.e. comparisons of PLCs with different adjacent habitats), ii) if PLCs act as source habitat through spill-over of individuals into adjacent forest roads and semi-natural pastures and iii) if species composition differs among the investigated habitat types. To investigate this we censured the butterfly fauna in 23 study landscapes in south-central Sweden. We found support for the hypothesis that PLCs may act as source habitats for butterflies in forest roads and pastures, since species richness and abundance were decreasing with increasing distance to PLC from 0 to 500 m. In addition, the species composition in forest roads and pastures close to and far from PLCs was similar, suggesting that this increase was not due to an increase of PLC specialists in the other two habitats. Thus, we have shown that PLCs in themselves are important butterfly habitats independently of adjacent habitat composition (adjacent mature forest, clear cuts or arable land), and they contribute to increased species richness and abundance of butterflies in surrounding areas over 10 times larger than their own width.


Clearing of shrubs; Power-line rights-of-ways; Forest road verges; Species richness; Abundance; Species composition

Published in

Biological Conservation
2016, Volume: 201, pages: 320-326

      SLU Authors

        • Zmihorski, Michal

        • Associated SLU-program

          SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre

          Sustainable Development Goals

          SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

          UKÄ Subject classification


          Publication identifier


          Permanent link to this page (URI)