Evaluating forest clear-cuts as alternative grassland habitats for plants and butterflies

  • Published source details Ohwaki A., Koyanagi T.F. & Maeda S. (2018) Evaluating forest clear-cuts as alternative grassland habitats for plants and butterflies. Forest Ecology and Management, 430, 337-345.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Clear or open patches in forests

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Clear or open patches in forests

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2016 in 10 grasslands and forest clearings in Honshū, Japan (Ohwaki et al. 2018) found that clearcut forest patches attracted a similar number of butterfly species as semi-natural grasslands. In clearcut patches, the total number of butterfly species (22 species/site) and the number of threatened butterfly species (2 species/site) were not significantly different to semi-natural grasslands (total: 26 species/site; threatened: 6 species/site). However, 15 butterfly species (including five threatened species) were observed only in grassland, compared to six species (none threatened) which occurred only in clearcuts (statistical significance not assessed). From 2008–2012, five plantation patches (aged 27–88 years, 3.1–14.7 ha, >1.8 km apart) were clearcut. Two years after cutting, larch Larix kaempferi seedlings were planted at each site, with some broadleaved deciduous and evergreen coniferous trees. For 3–5 years after planting, summer mowing was used to suppress surrounding vegetation. Five semi-natural grasslands (15–1,900 ha, >3.5 km apart) were managed by burning in early spring (three sites) or had been abandoned since the 1950s (two sites). From May–October 2016, butterflies were surveyed once/month on three 200-m transects/site (six transects on the largest grassland).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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