Category: Ecological Research
Title: Butterfly Response and Successional Change Following Ecosystem Restoration
Author: * Waltz, A.E.M. , * Covington, W.W.
Subject: Butterflies, Succession, Ecological Restoration
Abstract: The Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) can be useful indicators of ecosystem change as a result of a disturbance event. We monitored changes in butterfly abundance in two restoration treatment units paired with adjacent untreated forest at the Mt. Trumbull Resource Conservation Area in northern Arizona. Restoration treatments included thinning trees to density levels comparable to densities at the time of Euro-American settlement, and reintroducing a low to medium intensity fire to the system. One unit was treated in 1996, the second in 1998. Butterfly communities, nectar availability, and herbaceous species richness were compared between treated and adjacent control forests, and between 3-year posttreatment and 1-year posttreatment forests. Butterfly species richness and abundance were two and three times greater, respectively, in restoration treatment units than in adjacent control forests. Nectar plant species richness ranged from two to 10 times greater in restoration treatment units than in adjacent control forests. Comparison of the 3-year posttreatment unit with the 1-year posttreatment unit showed little difference in butterfly species richness and abundance, although no statistical comparisons can be made due to sample size. These restoration treatments offer a unique opportunity to study responses to and recovery from disturbance and restoration at a landscape level.
Source: Rocky Mountain Research Station Proceedings
Publisher: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, http://www.fs.fed.us/rmrs/