We monitored consecutive generations of three lupine-feeding specialist butterflies in pine-oak barrens in central Wisconsin, USA: Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus
), Karner Blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis
), and Persius Duskywing (Erynnis persius
) during 1991–2014. We also monitored the summer generation of Karner Blues in northwestern Wisconsin. We present results on 24 sites for Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing, and 39 sites for Karner Blue. Land uses in sites occupied by the federally endangered Karner Blue are regulated. Economically utilized lands classified as “Shifting Mosaic” (SM) (forestry land) or “Permanency of Habitat” (PH) (rights-of-way) are afforded a lower standard of conservation results than the more favorable management expected of Reserves (R). For all three species, reserve sites had more favorable trends than permanency of habitat and shifting mosaic sites. Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing had more strongly negative trends in permanency of habitat than shifting mosaic, but vice versa for Karner Blue. Shifting mosaic sites added more recently to the study had negative trends, but not as strongly as longer-monitored shifting mosaic sites. Another large shifting mosaic complex (Hunter Haven), monitored in 17 years during 1995–2014 for Frosted Elfin and Persius Duskywing, had non-negative trends. Individual reserve sites also had more favorable trends than collectively for all reserve sites, including significant positive trends for Persius Duskywing and Karner Blue, and a stable trend for Frosted Elfin. Thus, land use is implicated not only for declines but also for effective conservation of these species.
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