Study

Localized disturbances from oil sands developments increase butterfly diversity and abundance in Alberta's boreal forests

  • Published source details Riva F., Acorn J.H. & Nielsen S.E. (2018) Localized disturbances from oil sands developments increase butterfly diversity and abundance in Alberta's boreal forests. Biological Conservation, 217, 173-180.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce the size of surface features when prospecting for or extracting underground products

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Clear or open patches in forests

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Reduce the size of surface features when prospecting for or extracting underground products

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2015 in a boreal forest in Alberta, Canada (Riva et al. 2018) found that narrow corridors used for prospecting for oil had a lower abundance and species richness of butterflies than wide corridors, but were more similar to undisturbed forest. In narrow, 3-m-wide corridors, the abundance (31 individuals/site) and species richness (8 species/site) of butterflies was lower than in 9-m-wide corridors (abundance: 95 individuals/site; richness: 15 species/site). However, narrow corridors were similar to undisturbed forest (abundance: 21 individuals/site; richness: 7 species/site). From 2000–2005, corridors (3  or 9 m wide) were cleared of trees to prospect for oil in a 25-km2 area of previously undisturbed forest. From June–August 2015, butterflies were surveyed 11 times on five 200-m transects in corridors of each width, and in undisturbed forest patches which had received no wildfire or anthropogenic disturbance within 50 m for >80 years.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Clear or open patches in forests

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2015 in a boreal forest in Alberta, Canada (Riva et al. 2018) found that larger cleared patches in forests had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than undisturbed forest, but smaller cleared patches did not. The abundance and species richness of butterflies in large clearings (abundance: 65 individuals/site; richness: 13 species/site) and wide corridors (abundance: 95 individuals/site; richness: 15 species/site) was higher than in undisturbed forest (abundance: 21 individuals/site; richness: 7 species/site). However, narrow corridors (abundance: 31 individuals/site; richness: 8 species/site) were similar to undisturbed forest. Of 43 species observed, 41 had a higher abundance in cleared sites than in undisturbed forest (statistical significance of individual species results not presented, see paper for details). From 2000–2005, clearings (60 × 60 m) and corridors (3 or 9 m wide) were created in a 25-km2 area of previously undisturbed forest by removing trees. From June–August 2015, butterflies were surveyed 11 times on five 200-m transects in each type of clearing, and in undisturbed forest patches which had received no wildfire or anthropogenic disturbance within 50 m for >80 years.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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