Conservation efforts helped some of the UK's most threatened butterflies weather a poor year in 2021. Restoring lost habitats enabled the woodland-loving heath fritillary to double its numbers in the past decade, although it is 90% down on 1980 levels, and the silver-studded blue recorded its best year since 1996. The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, which uses data collected by volunteers from more than 2,900 sites across the UK, showed 2021 was a difficult year for overall butterfly abundance. We're delighted to be seeing some positive signs for species such as the heath fritillary, especially when the general long-term picture for UK butterflies is one of great decline, said Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation. It reinforces the importance of managing and restoring habitat. The heath fritillary is a good example of a species that almost certainly would have gone extinct in Britain by now, if it wasn't for conservation efforts.

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