RESEARCHERS at the University of York have made important discoveries on how to conserve British butterflies using data collected by “citizen science” schemes.

The country’s climate has warmed over the past four decades and many species, including butterflies, have moved northwards.

But scientists now think species can only do this if they already have a stable population and plenty of suitable habitat.

PhD student Louise Mair used data collected by members of the public since the 1970s to track butterfly trends.

Dr Richard Fox, at Butterfly Conservation, said: “We are grateful to the thousands of volunteer recorders who have collected butterfly data over the past years.

“Their efforts and the information they’ve gathered are proving crucial to our understanding of the impacts of climate change on British butterflies.

“These latest research findings have important implications for our work to conserve threatened butterflies.”