Logging is an issue of major conservation concern. Less than 5% of tropical forests are currently protected, and many of these are in so-called “paper parks.” Many species may therefore depend on exploited forests, and management decisions concerning these forests will be a major determinant of their survival. An important aspect of forest management will entail the use of reliable, practical, and inexpensive indicator taxa to monitor exploitation. Here, butterflies are proposed as such indicators. Species, generic, and subfamily richness was significantly higher in logged than unlogged forest and community composition differed significantly at all three taxonomic levels (species, genus, and subfamily). Richness estimators were, furthermore, highly correlated among all three taxonomic levels. Significant individual indicator taxa were found at all three taxonomic levels, but the best overall taxa (highest indicator values) were found at the generic level and included the butterfly genera Ragadia and Paralaxita as indicators of unlogged forest and the genera Ypthima, Allotinus, and Athyma as indicators of logged forest. The use of genera instead of species presents a number of practical advantages. Identification is faster, easier, and more reliable. Genera can, furthermore, usually be identified “on the wing,” thereby preventing accidental mortality due to capture.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2