A first breeding farm for leaf insects in Indonesia

Landscape Indonesia, West Java
Credit: Monsieur Cayana
Grande enceinte en bois pour cultiver différentes espèces de plantes hôtes
  • Grande enceinte en bois pour cultiver différentes espèces de plantes hôtes
  • Plusieurs espèces d’insectes feuilles
  • Paysage Indonésie, Java Ouest
A first breeding farm for leaf insects in Indonesia

Nowadays, the world has hundreds of butterfly aviaries. These are home to chrysalides that come from breeding farms located in Central and South America, in Africa and in Southeast Asia. These so-called “fair trade” breeding farms generate income for the community via the sale of those chrysalides. They also help protect the forest by buying larger and larger plots of land every year. The communities and the population are increasingly aware that the forest represents an economic resource, and that protecting it as much as possible is crucial. A remarkable example is the one at El Bosque Nuevo Butterfly Farm in Costa Rica, which started with 36 and which today owns more than 285 hectares of tropical forest! These breeding farms are often involved in safeguarding rare butterfly species through special programs. When a species is endangered or vulnerable, these farms are called on to carry out intensive breeding of that species and release it into the wild in strategic locations for its survival.

It was based on these butterfly breeding farms that the idea came to Maman Cayana, a friend and collaborator of the Insectarium’s, to create the world’s very first leaf insect breeding farm. He built a large wooden enclosure on his land and cultivated different species of host plants that serve as food for several leaf insect species, like Phyllie de Java and Phyllie de Jacobson. With the authorization of the Indonesian government and the collaboration and financial and scientific support of the Insectarium de Montréal, every year this leaf insect breeder produces hundreds of specimens destined for scientists and museums around the world in a fair way. Profits are reinvested in the community, and environmental impacts are minimized. This initiative answers a demand, and removes no individual specimens from the wild.

We have to remember that in Southeast Asia, many forests are threatened with destruction so as to provide space for monocultures such as palm oil. Certain species are rare and extremely localized, and the destruction of their habitat entails a loss of biodiversity.

There are good grounds for believing that in the future, numerous other species of rare insects, threatened or in danger of extinction, will be subject to breeding in order to increase the number of individuals living in the wild. The decline of insects, both in terms of species and biomass, has been the subject of many scientific studies, which highlight the important ecological role of these organisms for the planet. Let’s hope these breeding programs will be a huge success.

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2 Comment(s)
Charmaine lily's picture
Charmaine lily

I'm impressed by the innovative approach of creating breeding farms not only to conserve endangered species but also to generate income for local communities and protect valuable forest habitats. It's heartening to see such initiatives that address both environmental and socioeconomic challenges fnaf sustainably.

Guairdair's picture

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