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The headlines from the latest State of the UK’s Butterflies report paint a grim picture over the last 40 years, but there are signs for optimism!

It’s not been a good four decades for the UK’s butterflies.

Those are the findings from the latest State of the UK’s Butterflies report to be published. The report, compiled by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, comes out every five years, but the latest edition also covers the period from 1976 to 2015.

And it reveals that over three-quarters of the UK’s resident and migrant butterfly species have declined in number and occurrence over the last 40 years, with some once common and widespread species now in severe trouble, joining some rarer species.

The reasons for the decline are not well understood but could include habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use. Scotland fared better than England, showing no long-term trends.

However, the report also shows signs of hope as a number of our most endangered butterflies are recovering thanks to conservation efforts, and that both common and rare migrant species have been arriving in larger numbers.

The findings utilise data gathered by two long-running citizen science projects: the Butterflies for the New Millennium recording scheme and the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, and provide the government with its official statistics.

To help make sense of such a complicated document, Richard Fox, lead report author and Butterfly Conservation’s head of recording, has given BBC Earth the headlines from the report.

Read more here.

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