Every Friday the forest team embarks on a day with a slightly different focus then the rest of the week. Known as “Fun Forest Friday” or “Things with wings”, aptly named for the Butterfly sweep netting and Bird surveys we conduct.
Butterflies are especially important to study they are
highly sensitive to disturbance, and are used as an indicator species for the
increasing destruction of our forest. We can see that as soon an area is more than
mildly disturbed by logging or shifting agriculture a number of butterfly
groups quickly disappear. By simply looking at the butterflies we have caught
we can quickly get a good understanding of how the area had been affected and
which specific plant species have been disrupted.
With a weekly Friday treat of pancakes for breakfast the team leaves base early with butterfly sweep nets and binoculars in hand.
|Extreme butterfly catching on the soft sands|
|Some butterflies are faster then others!|
|Photos are taken for identification|
Catching the butterflies is not always the easiest of tasks, with our DIY nets made from old mosquito nets, a sweep net survey is conducted for 20 minutes, chasing butterflies through the undergrowth.
We conduct the survey in a variety of habitats even on the beaches next to the forest. Once you manage to catch a butterfly you need to gently ease it out of the net taking pictures of both upper and underside of the butterfly ready to be identified back at base, letting the butterfly free so you can try and do it all again.
|Its not as easy as it sounds!|