Letter: Easy Way to Aid Butterflies

To the Editor:

Your front-page article “Butterflies Disappear as Humans Encroach” in the July 2 edition mentions the use of landscape chemicals and the loss of woods and meadows as factors that destroy habitat for butterflies and other native pollinators. When those creatures decline, so do larger animals — especially the many bird species that require these insects to feed their young.

We could help alleviate the situation by simply using more native plants in landscaping. The rewards are almost instant if we plant native trees and shrubs and convert idle lawn areas to meadows of native grasses and wildflowers that pollinating insects have evolved to eat. It has been shown that yards planted with native species have several times the quantity and diversity of birds and butterflies as those planted with non-natives (“Impact of Native Plants on Bird and Butterfly Biodiversity in Suburban Landscapes,” Conservation Biology, Vol. 23, No. 1). Native plants have been underutilized and unappreciated. So, if we want to help restore the butterflies, grow native!

Barbara McIlroy

Etna

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Butterflies Disappear As Humans Encroach

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Butterflies are the essence of cool in the insect world, a favorite muse for poets and songwriters who hold them up as symbols of love, beauty, transformation and good fortune. But providing good fortune apparently goes only one way. As humans rip apart woods and meadows for housing developments and insecticide-soaked lawns, butterflies across the country are disappearing. The U.S. …