Moth species presence can provide useful information about the effects of climate change, as well as the biological state of the local environment and its biodiversity. Butterfly Conservation have found that the abundance of macro moths has decreased by 33% in the UK over the past 50 years and their distribution has increased by an average of 9% - the latter is thought to be mostly a result of climate change. Butterfly Conservation rely on moth enthusiasts sending in records from moth trapping activities to do this research and therefore would not be able to find discoveries on population changes without the help of monitors and their moth traps.

At Turnastone Court Farm, we borrowed a battery powered heath moth trap to use to monitor moth species composition and abundance each month during the main flying season. This produced information about which species are most commonly found in the surrounding habitat and provided a starting point for habitat enhancement ideas. 

Knowing what species are present, helps us to implement and tailor (when appropriate) beneficial land management. 11 out of a total 60 species of macro moths recorded during the surveys, are listed on schedule 41 of the NERC act as Species of Principle Importance in England. This included the Dusky Thorn who’s larval foodplant is predominantly Ash, and with dieback ravaging their larval food source across the country, there is likely an uncertain future ahead for the species. Like the Dusky Thorn, the Oak Hook-Tip (also present at Turnastone Court Farm) is a Species of Principal Importance whose namesake refers to its larval food plant.

A moth trap is the most efficient and effective tool for gathering information about the moth’s community in a humane way and without one, we would not be informed to make land management decisions. For example, encouraging floristic diversity within each habitat across the farm helps to ensure there is enough food to support as many species as possible.

How you can help

We can’t do it without you. If you want to help us protect local wildlife you can support the CRT in any number of ways, from joining as a CRT Friend to volunteering on one of our farms and attending our events. You can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter 'CRT News' for regular updates from our farms, straight to your inbox.

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