Sasha Vasconcelos | January 23, 2015 | 14h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Opting to conserve biodiversity in the tropics using land sharing/sparing approaches, or a combination of both, is often hindered by a lack of understanding of the levels of biodiversity that can be maintained in agricultural landscapes, particularly in tropical farmland where fewer studies have been conducted. Here we address this issue by examining butterfly community variation across a gradient of cashew expansion and landscape diversity in Guinea-Bissau. Results show that butterfly assemblages are negatively affected by current land management practices, with fewer specialist species occurring in cashew orchards, and butterflies in forest and savanna woodland exhibiting a strong dependence on less diverse landscapes dominated by natural vegetation. We discuss the selection of a suitable management approach based on our findings.


Sasha holds a degree in Environmental Biology from the Lisbon University (2008) and a MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Évora (2011). She has been a research fellow under the CIBIO-InBIO and IICT partnership since 2012, working with the APPLECOL and TROPBIO groups under the supervision of Pedro Beja (CIBIO-InBIO) and Luís Mendes (IICT, CIBIO-InBIO). Sasha is currently collaborating in a project studying the socio-economic and environmental impacts of cashew expansion in West Africa (Guinea-Bissau), where she is assessing the consequences of the expansion of this cash crop for arthropod communities.


Image credits: Cashew orchard (Sasha Vasconcelos); Harvested cashew fruit (Luís Catarino)