Butterfly conservation in China: From science to action

Wen Ling Wang, Daniel O. Suman, Hui Hong Zhang, Zhen Bang Xu, Fang Zhou Ma, Shao Ji Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


About 10% of the Earth’s butterfly species inhabit the highly diverse ecosystems of China. Important for the ecological, economic, and cultural services they provide, many butterfly species experience threats from land use shifts and climate change. China has recently adopted policies to protect the nation’s biodiversity resources. This essay examines the current management of butterflies in China and suggests various easily implementable actions that could improve these conservation efforts. Our recommendations are based on the observations of a transdisciplinary group of entomologists and environmental policy specialists. Our analysis draws on other successful examples around the world that China may wish to consider. China needs to modify its scientific methodologies behind butterfly conservation management: revising the criteria for listing protected species, focusing on umbrella species for broader protection, identifying high priority areas and refugia for conservation, among others. Rural and urban land uses that provide heterogeneous habitats, as well as butterfly host and nectar plants, must be promoted. Butterfly ranching and farming may also provide opportunities for sustainable community development. Many possibilities exist for incorporating observations of citizen scientists into butterfly data collection at broad spatial and temporal scales. Our recommendations further the ten Priority Areas of China’s National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2011–2030).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number661
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Agroecosystems
  • Butterfly ranching and farming
  • Citizen science
  • Lepidoptera
  • Pollinator
  • Protected species
  • Public awareness
  • Refugia
  • Urban greening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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