Butterfly farming is a growing new industry in Papua New Guinea, and by turning irdwings, mauve swallowtails, and other insects into a cash crop villagers are both earning money and practicing sound wildlife conservation. In this unique program butterfly farming is being used to complement the preservation of species and of habitats. In balancing the utilization of common butterflies with the protection of the most threatened species, Papua New Guinea is providing a model for other countries, particularly those in the tropics. The program demonstrates how village development can become an integral part of conservation.
The panel that produced this report convened in Papua New Guinea in May 1981. Its purpose was to investigate the concepts underlying this project and to assess their potential for application elsewhere. Panel members met with staff of the government's Division of Wildlife in Port Moresby and later visited butterfly farms in Popondetta and the insect trading agency in Bulolo. The panel is grateful to Karol Kisokau, Navu Kwapena, and Miro Laufa of the Division of Wildlife for arranging the itinerary in Papua New Guinea and to Peter Clark and Michael Parsons for hosting the Bulolo and Popondetta visits.
This report is one of the National Research Council series, Managing Tropical Animal Resources. Current titles in the series are:*
· Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal ( 1981 )
· Little-Known Asian Animals with a Promising Economic Future (1983)
· Crocodiles as a Resource for the Tropics (1983)
· Butterfly Farming in Papua New Guinea ( 1983)
These activities have been conducted under the auspices of the Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation (ACTI) of the Board on Science and Technology for International Development, National Research Council (see page 29). The purpose of ACT}iS the assessment of unconventional scientific advances that might prove especially applicable to problems of developing countries. Since its founding in 1971, it has produced about 30 reports covering subjects as diverse as ferrocement construction materials, the winged bean (a high-protein tropical food crop), and techniques to provide more water for arid lands. This study adds the dimension of conservation and ecosystem protection to ACTI'S principal concerns of promising but neglected resources.
ACTI activities are supported largely by the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). Program costs for this study were supported by AID'S Bureau for Asia, and staff costs by AID'S Office of the Science Advisor, which also made possible the free distribution of this report.