As part of OuTrop’s efforts to build capacity for research in Indonesia, we are delighted to announce the publication of our Good Practice Guidelines for butterfly canopy trapping, which are available for free download here. A Bahasa Indonesia version of this document is also planned to be launched shortly, so watch this space!
A female Lexias pardalis butterfly in Sabangau. Photo: Jess Smallcombe/OuTrop.
Alongside work by other groups, OuTrop’s past and ongoing research has identified forest butterflies as a potentially very useful group for monitoring trends in habitat condition or quality over time. This is a result of their sensitivity to environmental change, rapid breeding and relatively easy field identification compared to other invertebrate groups (see our guide to identifying Sabangau’s butterflies here).
This is important, as larger animals such as apes breed much more slowly, meaning that trends in their populations may take a long time to emerge. For example, orangutans only breed once every 6-9 years. Monitoring taxa such as butterflies can therefore provide early indications of changes in the environment, which conservation managers interested in preserving the habitat to conserve species such as the orangutan can potentially act upon.
Checking a butterfly canopy trap in Sabangau. Photo: Andrew Walmsley/OuTrop.
These butterfly canopy trapping Good Practice Guidelines draw upon OuTrop’s experience in the Sabangau Forest and other areas, to provide detailed recommendations for people wishing to establish similar butterfly assessment or monitoring research in their own sites on how this might be best achieved. The document covers issues such as study design, trap placement, bait selection and survey protocols, and includes sample field data collection sheets.
Through publishing these guidelines, we aim to help build capacity for such research in Indonesia and, in so doing, support conservation of its rich natural resources (including butterflies!).