Effects of local variation in nitrogen deposition on butterfly trends in The Netherlands

M.F. Wallis de Vries, C.A.M. van Swaay

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


Anthropogenic nitrogen deposition has been recognized as a factor affecting the dynamics and composition of plant communities. Its impact on insect communities is still largely unknown. Using data from the Dutch Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, we analyzed the variation in local trends of butterfly abundance in three Natura 2000 habitat types of known sensitivity to nitrogen deposition: coastal dunes (H2130), wet heathlands (H4010A) and species-rich Nardus grassland (H6230). We found evidence of a negative impact of increasing levels of nitrogen deposition on butterfly trends in all three habitat types. Interestingly, species from more nitrogen-rich habitats showed a similar, though less pronounced, response. The results constitute the first evidence of a significant dose-response relationship between nitrogen deposition and declines in insect abundance at a national scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
JournalProceedings of the Netherlands Entomological Society meeting
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • lepidoptera
  • fauna
  • nitrogen
  • ammonia emission
  • netherlands


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