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The effects of forest destruction on the abundance, species richness and diversity of butterflies in the Bosomkese Forest Reserve, Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana


G Addai
PK Baidoo

Abstract

Objectives: Despite the substantial loss of natural forest in the Bosomkese Forest Reserve, little is known on the effects of the massive habitat loss and degradation on forest biota. The study therefore assessed the effects of anthropogenic activities on butterfly species composition and abundance in the Bosomkese Forest reserve in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana.
Methodology and Results: The effects of anthropogenic activities on butterflies were studied in three forest types identified in the forest reserve namely, disturbed canopy (DC) slightly disturbed canopy (SDC) and undisturbed canopy (UC), which was the control. The data on the butterflies were collected using fruit – baiting traps on a 1 kilometer line transect selected in each of the study areas. Species richness and diversity were analyzed using Simpson’s Diversity Index. Five butterfly families were identified during the study. These were: Numphalidae, Hesperiidae, Pieridae, Lycaenidae and Papilionidae. Nymphalidae recorded the largest number of species whilst Papilionidae was the least abundant. The undisturbed canopy recorded the largest number of butterflies whilst the disturbed canopy recorded the least number of
butterflies. In terms of diversity, the undisturbed canopy showed the greatest diversity whilst the disturbed canopy showed the least diversity.
Conclusion and application of findings: Strict enforcement of forest laws by the law enforcement agencies and creating alternative source of livelihood for the people living in and around the forest reserve will help reduce the dependence on the forest as a source of livelihood.