Danilo Ribeiro, University Campinas (Dr. A Frietas)
Project title: Effects of selective logging on fruit-feeding butterflies of Brazilian Amazon basin: diversity within and among habitats.

The Amazon basin comprises around 60% of all tropical forest area in the world. In the last 30 years the deforested area was greater than the sum of total area destroyed in the first 450 years of European colonization in the Neotropics (Lovejoy 1999). Since 1988 around 18.400 km2 was deforested each year (Prodes – Inpe 2007). The major causes of deforestation are the increase of ranching and crop areas and timber extraction. The traditional method of timber extraction is named “slash and burn” and implicates the extraction of the larger trees and burning of remaining vegetation. This method causes large impacts in the local flora and fauna (Uhl and Vieira 1989). The alternative way of exploring the forest is named selective logging, and extract only the trees with great economic value (Laurance et al. 2005). Selective logging reduces the impact in the forest, although, it is still affecting many taxons (Johns 1985, Whitman et al. 1997, Jones et al. 2003, Wright and Flecker 2004, Kavanagh and Staton 2005, Azevedo-Ramos et al. 2006, Vidaurrea et al. 2006) including invertebrates ( DeVries 1997, Devy and Davidar 2001, Nislow and Lowe 2006, Dumbrell and Hill 2005, Forkner et al. 2006).

Among the several taxa that can be used in diversity studies, butterflies are considered an excellent model because of their relatively large size, conspicuity, ease of sampling and relatively well-known taxonomy (Brown, 1991, 1992; DeVries et al., 1997; Veddeler et al., 2005). This combination of factors in such a well known group of insects suggests an enormous potential for their use as templates for conservation of species and habitats (Brown, 1991; New, 1991, 1997; Steffan-Dewenter and Tscharntke, 1997; Brown and Freitas, 2000; Schulze et al., 2004). Adult butterflies are normally divided into two major guilds: nectar-feeding and fruit-feeding (DeVries, 1987). Fruit-feeding butterflies gain most of their nutritional requirements from rotting fruits, plant sap and decaying material; they are represented mainly by the Satyroid lineage of Nymphalidae (sensu Freitas & Brown, 2004, including the subfamilies Satyrinae, Brassolinae, Morphinae, Charaxinae and Biblidinae) and the tribe Coeini (Nymphalinae), comprising 50–75% of all neotropical Nymphalidae (Brown, 2005). Species of this guild can be easily sampled with bait traps using rotting fruits, allowing sampling in several areas simultaneously with a relatively similar sampling effort. Additionally, local richness and diversity in this group is correlated with total diversity of butterflies (Brown and Freitas, 2000; Horner-Devine et al., 2003), forest trees (Uehara-Prado, unpublished data) and birds (Schulze et al., 2004). In view of the characteristics of the forest, the objective of the present work is to test these hypotheses:

  1. Are there differences among the community parameters of areas with and without selective logging?
  2. Are there differences among the sub-families proportions among areas with and without selective logging?
  3. Does the selective logging activity affect the vertical stratification of fruit-feeding butterflies?