Some 120 species of butterflies live in Sweden. However, changes have fluttered into the world of butterflies. The Old World Swallowtail (Makaonfjäril) and other species are falling sharply in numbers. Other species such as the Map Butterfly (Nässelfjäril) are rapidly spreading northward.

A long term national project to gather knowledge about this changing situation for the country’s butterflies has been launched this Spring by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the public is being invited to help.

By counting butterflies at a number of sites each year, a more certain picture of changes in butterfly populations and distribution can be obtained. In order to carry out this extensive project, “Private individuals, school pupils, entomologists, birdwatchers - everyone is welcome to take part," says Lars Pettersson, researcher at the Department of Biology at Lund University who has been appointed to lead and coordinate the initiative.

Bearing the name, "The Swedish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme," the project intends to resemble the Swedish Bird Survey, a similar environmental monitoring project that is also coordinated by researchers at Lund University and which has been underway for 35 years throughout Sweden.

Linked to university research, the butterfly project's website and Facebook group publicize activities and explain mapping. Each participant will note the number of butterflies on a number of occasions in a defined areas, such as gardens, or along predetermined footpaths and trails. Results will also be used to academically evaluate Swedish and European environmental objectives.

For more info, see www.naturvardsverket.se or www.lu.se/biology