Common Butterflies of the Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve
Geoffrey R. Gallice, University of Florida
The Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve is located at the intersection of Andean and Amazonian rainforests, an epicenter of biodiversity in Ecuador.
Threats to Diversity
During the 1990s, a survey of the butterflies of Jatun Sacha counted over 800 species – an astonishing number. Since that time, deforestation and degredation of the surrounding landscape have altered the ecosystem both within and around the reserve. How many of those species persist, and how many will remain with continued human pressure? If scientists can learn to separate the effects of anthropogenic disturbance from normal fluctuations in species diversity and abundance, butterflies may be able to help us monitor the health of the Amazon forest.