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C. Dormann, O. Schweiger, I. Augenstein, D. Bailey, R. Billeter, G. de Blust, R. DeFilippi, M. Frenzel, F. Hendrickx, F. Herzog, S. Klotz, J. Liira, J. Maelfait, T. Schmidt, M. Speelmans, Wkre van Wingerden and M. Zobel (2007)

Effects of landscape structure and land-use intensity on similarity of plant and animal communities

Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16(6):774-787.

Aim Species richness in itself is not always sufficient to evaluate land management strategies for nature conservation. The exchange of species between local communities may be affected by landscape structure and land-use intensity. Thus, species turnover, and its inverse, community similarity, may be useful measures of landscape integrity from a diversity perspective. Location A European transect from France to Estonia. Methods We measured the similarity of plant, bird, wild bee, true bug, carabid beetle, hoverfly and spider communities sampled along gradients in landscape composition (e.g. total availability of semi-natural habitat), landscape configuration (e.g. fragmentation) and land-use intensity (e.g. pesticide loads). Results Total availability of semi-natural habitats had little effect on community similarity, except for bird communities, which were more homogeneous in more natural landscapes. Bee communities, in contrast, were less similar in landscapes with higher percentages of semi-natural habitats. Increased landscape fragmentation decreased similarity of true bug communities, while plant communities showed a nonlinear, U-shaped response. More intense land use, specifically increased pesticide burden, led to a homogenization of bee, bug and spider communities within sites. In these cases, habitat fragmentation interacted with pesticide load. Hoverfly and carabid beetle community similarity was differentially affected by higher pesticide levels: for carabid beetles similarity decreased, while for hoverflies we observed a U-shaped relationship. Main conclusions Our study demonstrates the effects of landscape composition, configuration and land-use intensity on the similarity of communities. It indicates reduced exchange of species between communities in landscapes dominated by agricultural activities. Taxonomic groups differed in their responses to environmental drivers and using but one group as an indicator for 'biodiversity' as such would thus not be advisable.

Dormann, Carsten F. Schweiger, Oliver Augenstein, Isabel Bailey, Debra Billeter, Regula de Blust, Geert DeFilippi, Riccardo Frenzel, Mark Hendrickx, Frederik Herzog, Felix Klotz, Stefan Liira, Jaan Maelfait, Jean-Pierre Schmidt, Torsten Speelmans, Marjan van Wingerden, Walter K. R. E. Zobel, Martin

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