"Mapping European Butterflies" - MEB

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The Gesellschaft für Schmetterlingsschutz e.V. (GfS) and the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU) jointly have started the MEB project in 1995, with the following main objectives:

1. Establishing a distribution data bank for European butterflies.
2. Publication of a distribution atlas of European butterflies.
3. Assessment of the conservation status of European butterfly species.
4. Identification of high priority areas for the conservation of European butterflies.
5. Identification of priorities in the conservation of European butterflies.

It was decided to achieve these five goals by the evaluation of the present distribution patterns of the European butterfly species.

The first result of the project Mapping European Butterflies (MEB-1) was The Distribution Atlas of European Butterflies presented to the public in March 2002. The data base of the Atlas consists of 228931 data records provided by about 250 recorders from all over Europe or extracted from all the major national, regional and private data banks. The Atlas contains some 450 dot distribution maps of all the European butterflies. For the first time a distribution atlas of European butterflies will be available and at the same time Europe will be the first continent ever to have all its butterfly species plotted on precise and comprehensive distribution maps.
Apart from providing significant species specific chorological data for taxonomists and biogeographers the prime purpose of the Atlas is to aid and promote the conservation of European butterflies. The analysis and evaluation of the distribution data contained in the Atlas will facilitate the identification of priorities in selecting species and areas of European significance for conservation purposes. Thus, it constitutes a major contribution towards the advancement of our knowledge of European butterflies. Without the support of the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU) and the Gesellschaft für Schmetterlingsschutz e.V. (GfS), Mapping European Butterflies could never have been started; without the co-operation of the above-mentioned 250 recorders the project would have never been successfully accomplished.
The Distribution Atlas of European Butterflies has been reviewed by leading lepidopterists in many lepidopterological and entomological journals and in several European countries. The late Prof. Dr. C.M. NAUMANN (2002, Entomologische Zeitschrift 112:340) called it "Meilenstein in der Geschichte der europäischen Lepidopterologie" ("milestone in the history of European lepidopterology"). The author of the Atlas is very proud of this appraise pronounced by an internationally highly acknowledged expert.