Ornithologist Francesca Rossi holds a newborn female Attacus lorquinii at the greenhouse of the Museo delle Scienze (MUSE). Photo Credit: AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Animals Tanzania18. June 2024

How Butterfly Forests Help in Conservation Action

Scientists are using butterflies and butterfly forests to better understand climate change and insect population loss in Tanzania.

“Research on butterflies is essential for informing conservation efforts and ensuring the long-term survival of the insects,” says Arafat Mtui, research coordinator at Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center.

Butterflies are highly sensitive to environmental changes and can, therefore, be used as key indicators to better understand what is going on within a specific ecosystem. The Udzungwa Mountains in south-central Tanzania are considered one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with more than 40 endemic species of butterflies. However, many butterfly populations are declining here. Of course, conservation efforts such as habitat restoration are essential for protecting butterflies. Scientists are currently working to change current farming policies and preserve what’s left of the remaining natural habitats.

What’s more, a new Butterfly Forest in Trento, Italy, has been created to study further and understand precisely what may need to be done to ensure the survival of these critical insects. “Butterflies, like other insects, are in crisis. We are losing species, we’re losing them forever, and this will break the balance of ecosystems,” explains Mauro Gobbi, an entomologist and researcher at the Italian science museum MUSE. Luckily, butterfly forests such as the one in Italy may provide key insights that could help save critical populations within Tanzania and across the globe.

Euro News

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