Encourage natural regeneration in former plantations or logged forest
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 3
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Background information and definitions
Logging of native forest or plantations causes a dramatic change in the structure of the landscape. Encouraging natural woodland regeneration in logged forest may enable the redevelopment of the forest structure, while encouraging natural regeneration in former plantations may encourage the restoration of native forest in the area. This action includes studies comparing naturally regenerating forest to plantations, continually managed natural forests, or pristine forests (which represent the end goal of regeneration). Note that many species of butterfly and moth do well in early successional woodland after disturbance, but these species may represent a different community to those found in established, pristine forest.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
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
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
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
Where has this evidence come from?
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022
Butterfly and Moth Synopsis