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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / How landscape structure, land-use intensity and habitat diversity affect components of total arthropod diversity in agricultural landscapes

F. Hendrickx, J. Maelfait, W. Van Wingerden, O. Schweiger, M. Speelmans, S. Aviron, I. Augenstein, R. Billeter, D. Bailey, R. Bukacek, F. Burel, T. Diekotter, J. Dirksen, F. Herzog, J. Liira, M. Roubalova, V. Vandomme, and R. Bugter (2007)

How landscape structure, land-use intensity and habitat diversity affect components of total arthropod diversity in agricultural landscapes

Journal of Applied Ecology, 44(2):340-351.

Agricultural intensification poses a serious threat to biodiversity as a consequence of increased land-use intensity, decreased landscape heterogeneity and reduced habitat diversity. Although there is interest in the preservation of total species richness of an agricultural landscape (gamma diversity), the effects of intensification have been assessed primarily by species richness at a local scale (alpha diversity). This ignores species richness between local communities (beta diversity), which is an important component of total species richness. In this study, measures of land-use intensity, landscape structure and habitat diversity were related to gamma, alpha and beta diversity of wild bees (Apoidea), carabid beetles (Carabidae), hoverflies (Syrphidae), true bugs (Heteroptera) and spiders (Araneae) within 16 local communities in 24 temperate European agricultural landscapes. The total landscape species richness of all groups was most strongly affected by increased proximity of semi-natural habitat patches. Bees also decreased in landscapes with a high intensity of farmland management, demonstrating additive effects of both factors. Separating total species diversity into components, the decrease in total species richness could be attributed primarily to a decrease in species diversity between local communities. Species richness of the local communities of all investigated groups decreased with increasing land-use intensity and, in the case of spiders, decreasing proximity of the semi-natural habitat patches. The effect of increased habitat diversity appeared to be of secondary importance to total species richness but caused a shift in the relative contribution of alpha and beta diversity towards the latter. Synthesis and applications. This study demonstrates that the effects of agricultural change operate at a landscape level and that examining species diversity at a local level fails to explain the total species richness of an agricultural landscape. The coincidence of patterns of beta diversity with those of gamma diversity emphasizes that such information is of crucial importance for the implementation and evaluation of restoration programmes aiming to restore sustainable countryside diversity. As local extinction processes in highly fragmented landscapes shape biodiversity, priority should be given to the conservation of diverse agricultural landscape remnants in Europe.

Hendrickx, Frederik Maelfait, Jean-Pierre Van Wingerden, Walter Schweiger, Oliver Speelmans, Marjan Aviron, Stephanie Augenstein, Isabel Billeter, Regula Bailey, Debra Bukacek, Roman Burel, Francoise Diekoetter, Tim Dirksen, Jolanda Herzog, Felix Liira, Jaan Roubalova, Martina Vandomme, Viki Bugter, Rob

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