Moth numbers may be in the doldrums after decades of decline, but interest in moths and moth recording has never been higher and we have never been in a better position to conserve these wonderful creatures.
The Moths Count project arose as Butterfly Conservation's response to the alarming decreases observed in moth populations. Information is an essential tool in the struggle to understand and halt these declines. Unless we know where species occur, and which moths are most at risk, how can we conserve them? Bringing together moth sightings made by the ever-increasing number of recorders into a new National Moth Recording Scheme will provide the information to underpin conservation and research for decades to come.
A year-long planning phase project (2003-04), which included consultation with over 1000 moth recorders and scores of relevant organisations, led to a substantial funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This was successful and the Moths Count project, the largest project ever undertaken by Butterfly Conservation, started in autumn 2006.
Since then, major strides have been made in the development of the National Moth Recording Scheme, thanks to the enthusiastic support of the moth recording community. The data gathered will be used widely to benefit moths and moth recorders alike.
In addition to creating and running the recording scheme, the Moths Count project has a large number of other objectives relating to raising awareness of moths and moth recording. These include encouraging interest in moths through public moth events and simple 'citizen science' surveys, providing training to new and existing moth recorders, running National Moth Night in conjunction with Atropos and supporting County Moth Recorders.
The progress made by Moths Count so far can be found here.
Moths Count is a partnership project, led by Butterfly Conservation, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies. Although the official project runs until 2010, Butterfly Conservation will continue the National Moth Recording Scheme after that time, with the support of moth recorders and partner organisations.