Moth responses to forest-to-bog restoration

A Pravia, R Andersen, R R E Artz, K Boyd, N R Cowie, N A Littlewood

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The responses of peatland invertebrates to land use changes and associated effects of peatland degradation are not well known, particularly for diverse and species-rich taxa such as moths. We investigated broad patterns of distribution in moth communities during the restoration of formerly afforested blanket bog, as well as their degree of habitat affinity (tyrphophilia). Thus, we examined the response of moth communities to peatland management across a restoration chronosequence and used information about species traits to explain the species’ responses to restoration (trait syndromes). A clear shift towards open habitat moth species and away from specialist forest species took place following tree felling, and the moth communities of restoration treatments resembled the bog community within a few years following onset of restoration. Interestingly, species traditionally considered tyrphobionts (bog specialists) were not restricted to core bog habitats. Trait syndromes were identified for each treatment, highlighting the importance of phylogenetic, phenological and ecological performance traits linked mainly to species microhabitat selection, resource use and dispersal capability. The restoration of afforested blanket bog opens up the habitat for the recolonisation of bog-inhabiting moth species, mediated by species functional traits. However, a better understanding of moth functional traits, especially linked to moth ecology (including habitat preferences), is needed to aid understanding of the relationship between restoration trajectory, species traits and blanket bog habitat.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages19
JournalMires and Peat
Early online date21 Dec 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 21 Dec 2020


  • peatland
  • afforestation
  • blanket bog
  • functional traits
  • lepidoptera


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