Encourage natural regeneration in former plantations or logged forest

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • Three studies evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of encouraging natural regeneration in former plantations or logged forest. One study was in each of Côte d’Ivoire, Japan and Uganda.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (3 STUDIES)

  • Community composition (2 studies): One site comparison study in Côte d’Ivoire found that rarer species of fruit-feeding butterfly were more frequently caught in a naturally regenerating forest than in a forest still managed by thinning. One replicated, site comparison study in Japan found that the moth community was different between naturally regenerating forests of different ages.
  • Richness/diversity (3 studies): One site comparison study in Côte d’Ivoire found that a naturally regenerating forest had a similar species richness and diversity of fruit-feeding butterflies to a forest still managed by thinning. One replicated, site comparison study in Japan found that naturally regenerating forests had a greater species richness of moths than plantations. One replicated, site comparison study in Uganda found that naturally regenerating forests had a similar species richness of butterflies to pristine forests, but richness was highest 12–25 years after felling.

POPULATION RESPONSE (3 STUDIES)

  • Abundance (3 studies): One site comparison study in Côte d’Ivoire found that a naturally regenerating forest had a similar abundance of fruit-feeding butterflies to a forest still managed by thinning. One replicated, site comparison study in Japan found that naturally regenerating forests had a greater abundance of moths than plantations. One replicated, site comparison study in Uganda found that naturally regenerating forests had a similar abundance of butterflies to pristine forests, but abundance was highest 12–25 years after felling.

BEHAVIOUR (0 STUDIES)

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A site comparison study in 1996 in a logged tropical rainforest in south-east Côte d’Ivoire (Fermon et al. 2000) found that the abundance, species richness and diversity of fruit-feeding butterflies (Nymphalidae) were similar in naturally regenerating forest and forest managed by thinning, but rarer species were caught more frequently in regenerating forest. Naturally regenerating forest had a similar abundance (56 individuals/trap), species richness (71 species) and diversity (data presented as model results) of butterflies to forest managed by thinning (abundance: 54 individuals/trap; richness: 76 species). However, species with smaller geographic ranges were caught more frequently in naturally regenerating forest (data presented as model results). See paper for individual species results. From 1960–1990, a 216 km2 forest was selectively logged. From 1992 the forest was protected, and two management options were implemented: natural regeneration (no management) and liberation thinning. Liberation thinning was designed to promote the growth of commercial timber species, and included cutting of lianas and climbers, and killing some non-commercial trees. Rare trees and important fruit trees were protected. From January–March 1996, butterflies were sampled in 30 ha of naturally regenerating forest, and 30 ha of thinned forest, using 28 banana-baited traps in each habitat. Traps were set 1 m above ground, 100 m apart, for six consecutive days, and checked daily.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, site comparison study in 2001–2002 in 18 forest stands in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan (Taki et al. 2010) reported that naturally regenerating forests had a higher abundance and species richness of moths than plantations, and found that the moth community changed with forest age. In naturally regenerating forests, 286–979 individuals of 121–220 species/stand were recorded, compared to 68–672 individuals of 50–192 species/stand in plantations (statistical significance not assessed). In naturally regenerating forests, the abundance and species richness of moths was similar between young (abundance: 344–849 individuals/stand; richness: 132–177 species/stand), mature (abundance: 375–979 individuals/stand; richness: 125–220 species/stand) and old (abundance: 286–682 individuals/stand; richness: 121–171 species/stand) forests, but the species community was different (data presented as model results). Six species were associated with young, 71 with mature, and 43 with old naturally regenerating forest. In mature plantations, the abundance (151–672 individuals/stand) and species richness (84–192 species/stand) of moths was higher than in young plantations (abundance: 68–271 individuals/stand; richness: 50–117 species/stand). Ten forest stands (2.5–32.5 ha) had been naturally regenerating for 1–178 years, and eight conifer plantations (2.6–14.3 ha) were planted 1–74 years ago. Forests were divided into three age classes (young: <20 years old; mature: 20–100 years old; old: >100 years old (natural regeneration stands only)). In August 2001–2002, moths were sampled on two nights/year using one 6 W black-light trap in each plantation forest (in 2001) and naturally regenerating stand (in 2002). Species with fewer than three individuals in each forest type were excluded.

    Study and other actions tested
  3. A replicated, site comparison study in 2011–2012 in a tropical rainforest in Uganda (Nyafwono et al. 2014) found that naturally regenerating forest had a similar abundance and species richness of butterflies to pristine forest, but abundance and richness were highest 12–25 years after felling. Two former plantations which were clearcut 12–25 years earlier and left to regenerate naturally had a similar abundance (18–21 individuals/trap) and species richness (31–34 species/trap) of butterflies to one pristine forest site (abundance: 24 individuals/trap; richness: 32 species/trap). However, those three sites had a greater abundance and species richness than both a second pristine site (abundance: 12 individuals/trap; richness: 24 species/trap) and four other sites which were clearcut 7–12 years earlier (abundance: 8–10 individuals/trap; richness: 20–23 species/trap) or were heavily logged 42–44 years earlier and left to regenerate naturally (abundance: 7–10 individuals/trap; richness: 22–24 species/trap). In 1968–1969, two areas of forest (347–622 ha) were heavily logged (40–50% basal area reduction, one area treated with arboricide) and left to regenerate naturally. From 1987–2004, four former conifer plantations (60–171 ha) were clearcut and left to regenerate naturally for 7–10, 10–12, 12–17 and 17–25 years. Two areas of intact pristine forest (282–754 ha) were also studied. From May 2011–April 2012, butterflies were caught from 0800–1600 hours on three consecutive days/month in 8–13 banana-baited white cylindrical butterfly traps (125 × 35 cm, hung at 40–50 cm height) in each area.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Bladon A.J., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2022) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

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