Effects of polyculture and monoculture farming in oil palm smallholdings on tropical fruit‐feeding butterfly diversity

  • Published source details Asmah S., Ghazali A., Syafiq M., Yahya M.S., Peng T.L., Norhisham A.R., Puan C.L., Azhar B. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2017) Effects of polyculture and monoculture farming in oil palm smallholdings on tropical fruit‐feeding butterfly diversity. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 19, 70-80.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2014 in 120 sites of agricultural land in Selangor, Malaysia (Asmah et al. 2017) found that smallholdings planted with oil palm and other crops (polyculture) did not differ in butterfly species richness, overall abundance or community composition from smallholdings planted with just oil palm (monoculture). There was no difference in the average number of butterfly species (polyculture: 4; monoculture: 3), overall number of individuals (polyculture: 29; monoculture: 36) or the composition of species between oil palm polycultures and monocultures (data presented as model results). Abundances of individual species in polycultures and monocultures were mixed and differences were not tested statistically (see paper for details). At 60 smallholdings oil palms were grown amongst other crops including bananas, coconuts, tapioca and sugar cane (polycultures), and at 60 oil palm was grown alone (monocultures). Smallholdings sampled were ≥300 m apart and mostly <5 ha in size. In January–August 2014, three fruit-baited traps were set ≥50 m apart from each other at each smallholding and operated for 12 h daily for three consecutive days, with regular checking. Butterflies caught were marked before release to avoid recounting. Each smallholding was sampled once.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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