Grow native trees within perennial crop plantations

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of growing native trees within perennial crop plantations. This study was in Costa Rica.


  • Richness/diversity (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in Costa Rica found that coffee farms with a native and a non-native tree species growing within them had a higher diversity of butterflies than coffee farms with a single non-native tree species, but a similar diversity to coffee farms with two non-native tree species. The same study found a similar species richness of butterflies on all farms.


  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in Costa Rica found that coffee farms with a native and a non-native tree species growing within them had a similar abundance of butterflies to coffee farms with one or two non-native tree species.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, site comparison study in 2007 in 18 coffee farms and six forest fragments in Costa Rica (Pérez-Garcia et al. 2018) found that farms with a native tree species had a greater diversity of butterflies than farms with one non-native species, but a similar diversity to farms with two non-native species, while abundance and species richness were similar on all farms. On farms with coffee crops mixed with a native tree there was a higher diversity of forest butterflies than farms with crops mixed with one non-native tree, but a similar diversity to farms with crops mixed with two non-native trees and lower than forest fragments (see paper for details). However, the abundance (12.5 individuals/site) and species richness (6.5 species/site) of forest butterflies on farms with native trees was similar to farms with one (abundance: 15.8 individuals/site; richness: 4.3 species/site) or two non-native trees (abundance: 18.5 individuals/site; richness: 7.0 species/site), and lower on all farms than in forest fragments (abundance: 49.0 individuals/site; richness: 19.3 species/site). Eighteen coffee farms were managed with mountain immortelle Erythrina poeppigiana shade trees. Six farms also mixed crops with native salmwood Cordia alliodora, six mixed with non-native banana or plantain Musa spp., and six had no additional trees. From May–July 2007, butterflies were surveyed once/month along three parallel 80-m transects (25 m apart) in each farm, and in six forest fragments.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Bladon A.J., Bladon, E. K., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2023) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Butterfly and Moth Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2023

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

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