Rhos Llawrcwrt NNR
Description Ecology CMS Plan References
This case study is based on the management of a marsh fritillary buttefly Eurodryas aurinia population at Rhos Llawrcwrt National Nature Reserve from 1992 to 2006. From 1991 David Wheeler was the manager of this site.  This account is taken from his account of the way in which the CMS plan was created and adapted.  In particular he demonstrates the way in which an adaptable approach to a specific management plan has taken place over three decades.  The plan has been adapted resulting from the combined results of developments in the planning logic and its practical application. 
Significant changes have been in  the objective as a consequence of developments in management planning and our understanding of what a smart objective should be. 
The objectives are also adapted to reflect improvements in science, and particularly a better understanding of the survival strategies and requirements of the species.
Management of the marsh fritillary population must take account of changes in the butterfly population, changes in factors affecting the population and new research informing understanding the ecology of the butterfly. An adaptable approach to management is therefore essential. Management objectives must also be adaptable in response to better understanding of ecological systems.
The site manager will need to balance short-term benefit against long-term gain. For example, David Wheeler says:
" in retrospect, I would like to have avoided the winter poaching of the improved fields that resulted in the spread of Juncus. Science is an essential management tool. It supports important judgements on management. However, the site manager must interpret scientific data very carefully. Setting of stocking levels was critical to the management of the habitat on the NNR. The graph below shows stocking rates and vegetation height and demonstrates that the relationship between the two is not straightforward (Fig. CS 4.7). At low stocking levels, stock do not graze an entire enclosure evenly but preferentially select certain areas. The response of the vegetation to grazing is not the same every year, mainly because growth rates are influenced by climate conditions. A large element of informed judgement is often required.
Index data from 2005 and 2006 suggests that the butterfly population on the western block is building up to a peak, possibly in 2007. There may once again be thousands of butterflies emerging on the NNR. Given that the population is still one ot the largest in the UK. it would be very easy to be complacent and be content with the population being confined to the current areas of unimproved rhos pasture on the western block. This would be nothing short of foolhardy. Who knows what the future will bring and what it will mean for this butterfly? The precautionary principle must be applied and every effort made to increase the long-term viability of the population at Rhos Llawrcwrt".
This example has been taken from the Chapter 4 , Management Planning for Nature Conservation, Springer, 2008