, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 521-541

Impact of logging on the richness and diversity of forest butterflies in a tropical dry forest in Thailand

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Abstract

Studies on the impact of logging on tropical forest butterflies have been almost exclusively conducted in moist forest habitats. This study considers the impacts of small-scale logging on butterfly communities at three sites of varying disturbance intensity in a tropical dry forest in western Thailand. Butterfly species richness was similar at all sites, but the abundance of butterflies and diversity of the butterfly community decreased with increased logging disturbance. The recorded decrease in diversity at the relatively large sampling scale used lends further support to the hypothesis that disturbance effects are scale dependent. Species abundance data for butterflies fitted a log-normal distribution at all sites, but also a log-series distribution at the two disturbed sites. These analyses suggest a more complex butterfly community at the undisturbed site, but also that log-series and log-normal distributions may not to be sufficiently sensitive to be useful indicators of community changes following logging. Community ordination separates both the butterfly species and transect samples into three distinct regions corresponding to the three study locations. Ordination axes are correlated with tree density, understorey cover and understorey plant richness. Species with the smallest geographic ranges tend to be the least abundant and occurred most frequently in the undisturbed site. The observed diverging responses to disturbance among butterfly families diminishes the value of butterfly communities as biodiversity indicators, and forest managers should perhaps focus on restricted range species or of groups of recognized sensitive species for this purpose.