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Type: Article
Published: 2015-04-01
Page range: 1-18
Abstract views: 100
PDF downloaded: 41

Butterfly community assemblages in relation to human disturbance in a tropical upland forest in Ghana, and implications for conservation

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Ghana

Patrick Addo-Fordjour

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology Department, KNUST. Area of specialisation includes Tropical Forest Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, Forest Mangement.
Anthropogenic disturbance butterfly assemblages butterfly diversity composition and abundance conservation disturbance intensity vegetation characteristics.


The present study determined butterfly diversity, species composition and abundance in different forests of varying human disturbance intensities in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana (i.e. non-disturbed, moderately disturbed and heavily disturbed forests). Vegetation characteristics and butterflies were sampled within ten 50 m × 50 m plots in each forest type. The study revealed that butterfly Shannon diversity index was similar in the non-disturbed and moderately disturbed forests although it was significantly lower in the heavily disturbed forest. Butterfly abundance differed significantly among all the forest types. Significant relationships were detected between some vegetation characteristics, and butterfly diversity and abundance (P<0.001). Using Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) and cluster analysis, three main butterfly assemblages were identified on the basis of species composition, with each one in a particular forest type. Furthermore, butterfly species composition differed significantly among the forest types (ANOSIM; P<0.0001). The intermediate form of human disturbance in the moderately disturbed forest maintained butterfly diversity, suggesting that management efforts aimed at butterfly conservation should be geared towards protecting forests from excessive human disturbance; selective logging is recommended.