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19 October 2017 Tropical Rainforest and Human-Modified Landscapes Support Unique Butterfly Communities That Differ in Abundance and Diversity
Hemchandranauth Sambhu, Tobin Northfield, Alliea Nankishore, Abdullah Ansari, Stephen Turton
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Abstract

Tropical forests account for at least 50% of documented diversity, but anthropogenic activities are converting forests to agriculture and urban areas at an alarming rate, with potentially strong effects on insect abundance and diversity. However, the questions remain whether insect populations are uniformly affected by land conversion and if insect conservation can occur in agricultural margins and urban gardens. We compare butterfly populations in tropical secondary forests to those found in sugarcane and urban areas in coastal Guyana and evaluate the potential for particular butterfly communities to inhabit human-modified landscapes. Butterflies were sampled for 1 yr using fruit-baited traps in three separated geographical locations on the coast. We used nonmetric multidimensional scaling to assess differences in species assemblages and a generalized linear mixed model to evaluate abundance, species richness, evenness, and diversity. The secondary forests in all three locations supported higher butterfly abundance and diversity than other human-modified areas, although the magnitude of this effect varied by season and location. However, each land use supported its own type of butterfly community, as species composition was different across the three land uses. Sugarcane field margins and urban gardens supported populations of butterflies rarely found in our tropical secondary forest sites. Land management practices that encourage forest conservation along with butterfly-friendly activities in human settlements and agricultural areas could improve butterfly conservation. To this end, butterfly conservation in Guyana and other tropical landscapes would benefit from a shift from inadvertently to actively making the landscape attractive for butterflies.

© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Hemchandranauth Sambhu, Tobin Northfield, Alliea Nankishore, Abdullah Ansari, and Stephen Turton "Tropical Rainforest and Human-Modified Landscapes Support Unique Butterfly Communities That Differ in Abundance and Diversity," Environmental Entomology 46(6), 1225-1234, (19 October 2017). https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvx129
Received: 7 July 2017; Accepted: 3 July 2017; Published: 19 October 2017
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