Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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The role of agri-environment schemes in conservation and environmental management
Batary, P. ; Dicks, L.V. ; Kleijn, D. ; Sutherland, W.J. - \ 2015
Conservation Biology 29 (2015)4. - ISSN 0888-8892 - p. 1006 - 1016.
land-use intensity - ecosystem services - agricultural landscapes - farmland birds - biodiversity - metaanalysis - europe - benefits - intensification - pollinators
Over half of the European landscape is under agricultural management and has been for millennia. Many species and ecosystems of conservation concern in Europe depend on agricultural management and are showing ongoing declines. Agri-environment schemes (AES) are designed partly to address this. They are a major source of nature conservation funding within the European Union (EU) and the highest conservation expenditure in Europe. We reviewed the structure of current AES across Europe. Since a 2003 review questioned the overall effectiveness of AES for biodiversity, there has been a plethora of case studies and meta-analyses examining their effectiveness. Most syntheses demonstrate general increases in farmland biodiversity in response to AES, with the size of the effect depending on the structure and management of the surrounding landscape. This is important in the light of successive EU enlargement and ongoing reforms of AES. We examined the change in effect size over time by merging the data sets of 3 recent meta-analyses and found that schemes implemented after revision of the EU's agri-environmental programs in 2007 were not more effective than schemes implemented before revision. Furthermore, schemes aimed at areas out of production (such as field margins and hedgerows) are more effective at enhancing species richness than those aimed at productive areas (such as arable crops or grasslands). Outstanding research questions include whether AES enhance ecosystem services, whether they are more effective in agriculturally marginal areas than in intensively farmed areas, whether they are more or less cost-effective for farmland biodiversity than protected areas, and how much their effectiveness is influenced by farmer training and advice? The general lesson from the European experience is that AES can be effective for conserving wildlife on farmland, but they are expensive and need to be carefully designed and targeted.
Influence of human activities on the activity patterns of Japanese sika deer (Cervus nippon) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Central Japan
Doormaal, N. van; Ohashi, H. ; Koike, S. ; Kaji, K. - \ 2015
European Journal of Wildlife Research 61 (2015)4. - ISSN 1612-4642 - p. 517 - 527.
agricultural landscapes - habitat selection - human disturbance - roe deer - land-use - forest - prefecture - behavior - density - damage
Human ageing and population decline in Japan are causing agricultural field abandonment and providing new habitats for Japanese sika deer and wild boar. These species have expanded their distribution and increased in abundance across Japan and are causing increased agricultural damage. Effective countermeasures must factor in the behavioural flexibility of sika deer and wild boar. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of hunting and indirect human activities on the activity patterns of sika deer in central Japan and compare these with previous findings on wild boar. Camera traps were used to observe activity patterns of both species and that of humans. Sika deer and wild boar were most active at night during the non-hunting season. Hunting activities significantly reduced sika deer and wild boar activity patterns. In the non-hunting season, nocturnal activity of sika deer increased with decreasing distance to settlement. A similar, but weak response was also observed for wild boar. This study suggests that sika deer and wild boar avoid humans and humandominated areas by being nocturnal. The recent introduction of night hunting might help to control wildlife populations, but monitoring will be necessary to confirm this expectation.
Early-season crop colonization by parasitoids is associated with native vegetation, but is spatially and temporally erratic
Bianchi, F.J.J.A. ; Walters, B.J. ; Hove, A.L.T. ; Cunningham, S.A. ; Werf, W. van der; Douma, J.C. ; Schellhorn, N.A. - \ 2015
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 207 (2015). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 10 - 16.
terebrans hymenoptera-ichneumonidae - managing ecosystem services - biological-control - bemisia-tabaci - pest-control - agricultural landscapes - habitats - biodiversity - populations - arthropods
Semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes may support parasitoid populations that provide biocontrol services by suppressing populations of crop pests, but little is known about the spatial pattern and variability of these services at different levels of scale. Here we investigate the rarely studied phenomenon of early-season crop colonization by parasitoids and the relationship with the surrounding landscape. We assessed parasitism of whiteflies by placing whitefly infested cotton seedlings in remnant vegetation, arable land 25–125 m from remnant vegetation, and arable land further than 400 m from remnant vegetation. Twelve to twenty sentinel plants were exposed in a 25 × 25 m grid pattern in plots in each habitat. The experiment was conducted at 18 locations across two landscapes and repeated three times in a 2-week period in 2007 and 2008. Parasitism was observed during the first three days after the introduction of the whitefly infested seedlings and was in all cases caused by Encarsia spp. The mean number of parasitized whitefly per plant was 0.106 ± 0.025 and was highest on cotton plants placed in remnant vegetation, declining with increasing distance from remnant vegetation. A regression model with land use and meteorological variables received more statistical support from the data than models with only landscape and time period as factors. Parasitism levels were influenced by the proportion of remnant vegetation, grassland, as well as wind, temperature, dew point temperature and year. Early-season colonization of whitefly infested seedlings by parasitoids was erratic and characterized by large spatial (inter-plant and inter-plot) and temporal variation. Our study confirms that remnant vegetation function as reservoirs for parasitoids and that parasitoids can penetrate arable fields beyond 125 m within 3 days. However, variation in the occurrence of parasitism makes it difficult to predict parasitoid colonization at a specific place and time. Therefore, field-based scouting for pests and parasitoids is necessary, even in landscapes with a high biocontrol potential.
Quantification of motility of carabid beetles in farmland
Allema, A.B. ; Werf, W. van der; Groot, J.C.J. ; Hemerik, L. ; Gort, G. ; Rossing, W.A.H. ; Lenteren, J.C. van - \ 2015
Bulletin of Entomological Research 105 (2015)2. - ISSN 0007-4853 - p. 234 - 244.
inhabiting cereal fields - pterostichus-melanarius - agricultural landscapes - movement patterns - surface-activity - activity-density - ground beetles - coleoptera - dispersal - models
Quantification of the movement of insects at field and landscape levels helps us to understand their ecology and ecological functions. We conducted a meta-analysis on movement of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), to identify key factors affecting movement and population redistribution. We characterize the rate of redistribution using motility µ (L2 T-1), which is a measure for diffusion of a population in space and time that is consistent with ecological diffusion theory and which can be used for upscaling short-term data to longer time frames. Formulas are provided to calculate motility from literature data on movement distances. A field experiment was conducted to measure the redistribution of mass-released carabid, Pterostichus melanarius in a crop field, and derive motility by fitting a Fokker–Planck diffusion model using inverse modelling. Bias in estimates of motility from literature data is elucidated using the data from the field experiment as a case study. The meta-analysis showed that motility is 5.6 times as high in farmland as in woody habitat. Species associated with forested habitats had greater motility than species associated with open field habitats, both in arable land and woody habitat. The meta-analysis did not identify consistent differences in motility at the species level, or between clusters of larger and smaller beetles. The results presented here provide a basis for calculating time-varying distribution patterns of carabids in farmland and woody habitat. The formulas for calculating motility can be used for other taxa.
Collective agri-environment schemes: How can regionalenvironmental cooperatives enhance farmers’ intentions foragri-environment schemes?
Dijk, W.F.A. van; Lokhorst, A.M. ; Berendse, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2015
Land Use Policy 42 (2015). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 759 - 766.
perceived behavioral-control - planned behavior - agricultural landscapes - social identity - self-efficacy - group norms - biodiversity - conservation - management - england
The effectiveness of agri-environment schemes (AES) in enhancing biodiversity on farmland and creating a long-lasting change in farmers’ motivation towards a more environmental-friendly practice is still strongly debated. Applying a regional approach has been advocated widely to make AES more ecologically and socially sustainable. In the Netherlands, some AES are performed collectively by large regional groups of farmers called Environmental Cooperatives (EC). We hypothesise that these cooperatives enhance farmers’ intention to participate by facilitating the application of AES, but also by generating group pressure. In the study at hand, we used an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to investigate which factors are associated with farmers’ intention to participate in two kinds of collective AES (ditch bank management and the protection of meadow birds). Our results demonstrate that attitude and perceived personal ability to participate in these AES are associated with the intention of farmers to participate in ditch bank management. However, for the protection of meadow birds, social pressure, self-identity and facilitation by the EC also relate to the intention of farmers. We conclude that the facilitation undertaken by ECs positively relates to farmers’ intention to participate in collective AES.
Scale and self-governance in agri-environment schemes: experiences with two alternative approaches in the Netherlands
Westerink, J. ; Melman, D. ; Schrijver, R.A.M. - \ 2015
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 58 (2015)8. - ISSN 0964-0568 - p. 1490 - 1508.
social-ecological systems - biodiversity conservation - agricultural landscapes - habitat fragmentation - mosaic management - limosa-limosa - payments - survival - policy - participation
Agri-environment schemes in the Netherlands have been criticized for their lack of effectiveness. Explanations were sought in the limited size of the individual farm and in the shallowness of the measures. We distinguish three scale problems: in the spatial dimension (from farm element to landscape), in the management dimension (from add-on measure to farming system) and in the governance dimension (from little to much space for self-governance by farmers). These scale concepts are used to translate insights from ecology and agro-economy to governance approaches. We analyse case studies of two new approaches: an area approach with group contracts and spatial coordination of agri-environmental measures, and a farming system with substantial adaptations of the farming concept. Both approaches have elements of increased self-governance and could offer inspiration for schemes elsewhere. We propose that appropriate space for self-governance is necessary when choosing another scale approach for making agri-environment schemes more effective.
Heterogeneity reconsidered
Ploeg, J.D. van der; Ventura, F. - \ 2014
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 8 (2014)sp.issue. - ISSN 1877-3435 - p. 23 - 28.
farming styles - agricultural landscapes - management - systems - food - sustainability - conservation - methodology - questions - relevance
Farming styles are distinctive patterns through which agricultural production is organized and developed. Different styles result in different levels of intensity and sustainability. This means that encouraging and stimulating specific farming styles might result in considerable agricultural development and growth of total food production. Currently, peasant-like styles of farming offer a great deal of promise for feeding the world in a sustainable way.
From research to action: enhancing crop yield through wild pollinators
Garibaldi, A. ; Carvalheiro, L.G. ; Leonhardt, S.D. ; Aizen, M.A. ; Blaauw, B.R. ; Isaacs, R. ; Kuhlman, M. ; Kleijn, D. ; Klein, A.M. ; Kremen, C. ; Morandin, L. ; Scheper, J.A. ; Winfree, R. - \ 2014
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12 (2014)8. - ISSN 1540-9295 - p. 439 - 447.
bee abundance - ecosystem services - agricultural landscapes - diversity - communities - populations - resources - responses - metaanalysis - management
Recent evidence highlights the value of wild-insect species richness and abundance for crop pollination worldwide. Yet, deliberate physical importation of single species (eg European honey bees) into crop fields for pollination remains the mainstream management approach, and implementation of practices to enhance crop yield (production per area) through wild insects is only just beginning. With few exceptions, studies measuring the impacts of pollinator-supporting practices on wild-insect richness and pollination service success – particularly in relation to long-term crop yield and economic profit – are rare. Here, we provide a general framework and examples of approaches for enhancing pollinator richness and abundance, quantity and quality of pollen on stigmas, crop yield, and farmers' profit, including some benefits detected only through long-term monitoring. We argue for integrating the promotion of wild-insect species richness with single-species management to benefit farmers and society.
Comparative analysis of key socio-economic and environmental impacts of smallholder and plantation based jatropha biofuel production systems in Tanzania
Eijck, J. van; Romijn, H. ; Smeets, E.M.W. ; Bailis, R. ; Rooijakkers, M. ; Hooijkaas, N. ; Verweij, P. ; Faaij, A. - \ 2014
Biomass and Bioenergy 61 (2014). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 25 - 45.
agricultural landscapes - mathematical-theory - communication - certification - biodiversity - bioenergy - energy - trade - india
Two jatropha business models are compared on seven key sustainability areas of concern, which are operationalized into various quantitative and qualitative indicators. The assessment is based on two Tanzanian real-life cases, a wide range of primary and secondary sources are used. Results indicate that both the decentralized smallholder model and the centralized plantation model can lead to positive socio-economic and environmental impacts, but substantial differences are also apparent. The smallholder model scores better on land rights, GHG balance and biodiversity and it reaches more people, whereas the plantation model creates more employment and higher (local prosperity) benefits for smaller numbers of people, and could lead to higher yields. Negative impacts of the smallholder model are minimal, whereas the plantation model could lead to decreased food security, loss of land rights and biodiversity. This could permanently affect the livelihood situation of the local population, but this is not inevitable as there is considerable scope for implementing mitigating policies. The way in which a particular model is implemented in practice, its management and company values, can have a major influence. However, the biggest hurdle towards achieving sustained positive societal impacts in both models is their marginal profitability at current yields, costs and prices. Still, these results are highly sensitive to uncertain yields and oil prices. Better outcomes in the future are therefore not foreclosed. A reliable sustainability assessment requires many location-specific and operational company data. More quantitative indicators are ideally required to improve assessment of social impacts and effects on environment.
Habitat functionality for the ecosystem service of pest control: reproduction and feeding sites of pests and natural enemies
Bianchi, F.J.J.A. ; Schellhorn, N.A. ; Cunningham, S.A. - \ 2013
Agricultural and Forest Entomology 15 (2013)1. - ISSN 1461-9555 - p. 12 - 23.
agricultural landscapes - coccinellidae - agroecosystems - biodiversity - assemblages - coleoptera - density - aphids - sinks
1 Landscape management for enhanced natural pest control requires knowledge of the ecological function of the habitats present in the landscape mosaic. However, little is known about which habitat types in agricultural landscapes function as reproduction habitats for arthropod pests and predators during different times of the year. 2 We studied the arthropod assemblage on six crops and on the seven most abundant native plant species in two landscapes over 1 year in Australia. Densities of immature and adult stages of pests and their predators were assessed using beat sheet sampling. 3 The native plants supported a significantly different arthropod assemblage than crops. Native plants had higher predator densities than crops over the course of the year, whereas crops supported higher pest densities than the native plants in two out of four seasonal sampling periods. Crops had higher densities of immature stages of pests than native plants in three of four seasonal sampling periods, implying that crops are more strongly associated with pest reproduction than native plants. Densities of immature predators, excluding spiders, were not different between native plants and crops. Spiders were, however, generally abundant and densities were higher on native plants than on crops but, because some species disperse when immature, there is less certainty in identifying their reproduction habitat. 4 Because the predator to pest ratio on native plant species showed little variation, and spatial variation in arthropod assemblages was limited, the predator support function of native vegetation may be a general phenomenon. Incentives that maintain and restore native remnant vegetation can increase the predator to pest ratio at the landscape scale, which could enhance pest suppression in crops.
Assessing the effects of seasonal grazing on holm oak regeneration: implications for the conservation of Mediterranean dehesas
Carmona, C.P. ; Azcárate, F.M. ; Oteros Rozas, E. ; González, J.A. ; Peco, B. - \ 2013
Biological Conservation 159 (2013). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 240 - 247.
scattered trees - agricultural landscapes - size structure - land-use - forest - environment - future - cattle - consequences - transhumance
Scattered trees in agricultural landscapes are globally declining due to the intensification of agricultural practices. Dehesas, highly species-diverse Mediterranean open woodlands, are seriously affected by this decline, because of a generalized regeneration failure of oak, which compromise their long-term stability. Traditionally, dehesas were the wintering areas for transhumant herds, but transhumance is disappearing in the Mediterranean, due to multiple causes. Reductions in grazing intensity or grazing abandonment have been proposed to improve oak regeneration in dehesas, but the effect of the recovery of noncontinuous grazing practices such as transhumance has not been tested to date. We measured different indicators of holm oak regeneration and condition in dehesas under transhumant grazing and in dehesas under permanent grazing in southern Spain. Oak juveniles were remarkably less browsed and their canopies covered a much higher area in transhumant estates. As a consequence, the median density of saplings was more than four times higher in transhumant than in permanently-grazed estates. Although transhumant grazing is necessarily associated with a reduction in the stocking rate across the year, the timing of grazing was always included as a predictor in the best models to explain the condition and density of holm oak. Our results suggest that the lack of oak regeneration in dehesas can be caused not only by the increases in stocking rates, but also by the recent abandonment of traditional grazing practices like transhumance. We propose the recovery of seasonal grazing regimes based on transhumant pastoralism as a measure to improve the conservation status of dehesas.
Environmental factors driving the effectiveness of European agri-environmental measures in mitigating pollinator loss – a meta-analysis
Scheper, J.A. ; Holzschuh, A. ; Kuussaari, M. ; Potts, S.G. ; Rundlöf, M. ; Smith, H. ; Kleijn, D. - \ 2013
Ecology Letters 16 (2013)7. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 912 - 920.
agricultural landscapes - farmland biodiversity - species richness - conservation - communities - management - bees - intensity - countries - schemes
In Europe, agri-environmental schemes (AES) have been introduced in response to concerns about farmland biodiversity declines. Yet, as AES have delivered variable results, a better understanding of what determines their success or failure is urgently needed. Focusing on pollinating insects, we quantitatively reviewed how environmental factors affect the effectiveness of AES. Our results suggest that the ecological contrast in floral resources created by schemes drives the response of pollinators to AES but that this response is moderated by landscape context and farmland type, with more positive responses in croplands (vs. grasslands) located in simple (vs. cleared or complex) landscapes. These findings inform us how to promote pollinators and associated pollination services in species-poor landscapes. They do not, however, present viable strategies to mitigate loss of threatened or endangered species. This indicates that the objectives and design of AES should distinguish more clearly between biodiversity conservation and delivery of ecosystem services. Keywords: Agri-environmental schemes, ecological contrast, ecosystem services, landscape context, land-use intensity, pollinators.
Temporal effects of agri-environment schemes on ditch bank plant species
Dijk, W.F.A. van; Schaffers, A.P. ; Leewis, L. ; Berendse, F. ; Snoo, G.R. de - \ 2013
Basic and Applied Ecology 14 (2013)4. - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 289 - 297.
agricultural landscapes - farmland biodiversity - peat areas - grassland - restoration - europe - netherlands - management - vegetation - diversity
Many of the agri-environment schemes (AES) implemented in the Western Peat District of the Netherlands have as their objective the conservation of the diversity of ditch bank plants. We investigated the effects of AES on ditch bank species in this area, using a dataset collected by 377 farmers who managed and monitored ditch banks during a 10-year period. We found that species richness has increased minimally over the last 10 years in ditch banks. Yet, we found no differences in increases in time between ditch banks with and without AES. In both ditch bank types plant species composition changed to species with higher nitrogen tolerance. Furthermore, species that disperse over long distances by water increased, whereas species with no capacity to disperse over long distances declined in both ditch bank types. This indicates that changes in vegetation composition in ditch banks are affected by other factors than AES.
Opportunities and limitations for functional agrobiodiversity in the European context
Bianchi, F.J.J.A. ; Mikos, V. ; Brussaard, L. ; Delbaere, B. ; Pulleman, M.M. - \ 2013
Environmental Science & Policy 27 (2013). - ISSN 1462-9011 - p. 223 - 231.
managing ecosystem services - different spatial scales - natural pest-control - land-use intensity - agricultural landscapes - biodiversity conservation - species richness - organic-matter - soil-structure - field margins
To counteract the negative effects of intensive agriculture there is increasing interest in approaches that reconcile agricultural production with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Integration of functional agrobiodiversity (FAB) in agricultural systems holds promise to meet these challenging objectives, but requires the generation, transfer and implementation of tailor-made knowledge, and policy development. Currently various initiatives are undertaken across Europe to develop and assess the potential of biodiversity-based management practices by farmers, industry, researchers and governmental and non-governmental organizations. In this paper we show that the Convention on Biological Diversity and planned reforms in EU policy offer scope to further implement FAB concepts via legislation for biodiversity conservation, pesticide use, water quality, environmental protection and conservation of genetic resources. At the same time we observe that there are still impediments to the adoption of FAB approaches, including (i) translation of general knowledge to tailored, ready-to-use management practices, (ii) limited information on the effectiveness of FAB measures in terms of crop yield and quality, profitability, and reduction of agrochemical inputs, (iii) lack of appropriate financial accounting systems that allow fair accounting of the private investments and public benefits, and (iv) the implementation of FAB measures at the right spatial scales, which requires coordination among the various actors in a region. Current and new legislation may provide incentives to address these limitations and contribute to the further development and integration of FAB concepts in agricultural systems in Europe.
Modelling the spatial distribution of linear landscape elements in Europe
Zanden, E.H. van der; Verburg, P.H. ; Mücher, C.A. - \ 2013
Ecological Indicators 27 (2013). - ISSN 1470-160X - p. 125 - 136.
agricultural landscapes - land-cover - species richness - rural landscapes - great-britain - hedgerows - biodiversity - ecology - habitat - context
Linear landscape elements, such as ditches, hedgerows, lines of trees and field margins, provide important habitats and ecosystem services and function as ecological infrastructure for species within agricultural landscapes. Spatial maps of the distribution of these elements are needed to better represent landscape structure within regional scale environmental assessments. We present wall-to-wall maps for green lines, ditches and grass margins for Europe, using spatial modelling of ground observations on linear features from the 2009 LUCAS (land use/cover area frame statistical survey) database. We compare different spatial interpolation methods, ranging from spatial autocorrelation-based methods to methods that explain the occurrence of elements based on biophysical and socio-economic information. Our results are 1 km2 resolution maps of the occurrence of linear landscape elements for Europe. Independent validation of green lines based on aerial photographs showed the best results for interpolation based on regionally estimated regressions relating the occurrence of landscape elements to environmental and socio-economic location factors. The results confirm the importance of the underlying biophysical and socio-economic factors on the presence and abundance of linear landscape elements. However, the total explanatory strength of the considered factors is moderate and a considerable uncertainty in the exact distribution remains.
The significance of habitats as indicators of biodiversity and their links to species
Bunce, R.G.H. ; Bogers, M.M.B. ; Evans, D. ; Halada, L. ; Jongman, R.H.G. ; Mücher, C.A. - \ 2013
Ecological Indicators 33 (2013). - ISSN 1470-160X - p. 19 - 25.
agricultural landscapes - ecosystem services - europe - stratification - cover
The first section of the paper discusses the background to the use of habitats as indicators for biodiversity including a discussion of the range of definitions that have been used. Habitats can now be recorded consistently across Europe at different time intervals in order to estimate stock and change as an indicator of biodiversity that is efficient and relatively easy to record. Habitats are considered to be the third level in a hierarchy with biomes and landscapes as higher categories and vegetation, species and genetic diversity as lower levels. An advantage of using habitats is that many other taxa are associated with them and examples are given from the literature. Examples are also given of the association between habitats and species in European Environmental Zones using expert judgement. Statistical analysis using a range of procedures can also be used to assess the association between species and habitats. Reliable data on the extent, status and changes in European habitats is essential for policy makers across the European Union and would also be important for promoting species conservation.
Interactive effects of landscape context constrain the effectiveness of local agri-environmental management
Concepción, E.D. ; Díaz, M. ; Kleijn, D. ; Báldi, A. ; Batáry, P. ; Clough, Y. ; Gabriel, D. ; Herzog, F. ; Holzschuh, A. ; Knop, E. ; Marshall, J.P. ; Tscharntke, T. ; Verhulst, J. - \ 2012
Journal of Applied Ecology 49 (2012)5. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 695 - 705.
different spatial scales - farmland biodiversity - agricultural landscapes - species-diversity - field margins - schemes - corridors - europe - matrix - birds
summary 1. Ecological theory predicts that the effectiveness of local agri-environmental management to enhance species richness at field scales will be the highest at intermediate levels of landscape complexity because of nonlinear effects of landscape context on field-scale diversity. 2. We examined how landscape complexity determined effectiveness of local agri-environmental management in terms of effects on species richness of birds, plants, spiders and bees in 232 extensive and intensive paired fields (112 arable fields and 120 grasslands) from 18 regions located in six European countries. 3. As predicted, landscape complexity enhanced field-scale species richness in a mostly nonlinear (sigmoidal) way, with earlier species richness increases in extensive than in intensive fields along landscape complexity gradients. Length of semi-natural boundaries (for arable fields) and proportion of unfarmed habitat (for grasslands) were the landscape features influencing species richness. 4. The relationships between effectiveness of local management and landscape complexity for all taxa were best described with hump-shaped curves, indicating the highest effectiveness at intermediate landscape complexities. 5. Synthesis and applications. We used models to investigate how and why effects of local management intensity on species richness vary along wide gradients of landscape complexity. We conclude that landscape-scale management options should take priority over local extensification measures within agri-environmental programmes. These programmes should follow a hierarchical multi-scale approach directed to address landscape-scale constraints on local diversity.
Changes in nectar supply: A possible cause of widespread butterfly decline
Wallis de Vries, M.F. ; Swaay, C.A.M. van; Plate, C.L. - \ 2012
Current Zoology 58 (2012)3. - ISSN 1674-5507 - p. 384 - 391.
species richness - field margins - agricultural landscapes - conservation - pollination - vegetation - diversity - scale - biodiversity - grasslands
Recent studies have documented declining trends of various groups of flower-visiting insects, even common butterfly species. Causes of these declines are still unclear but the loss of habitat quality across the wider countryside is thought to be a major factor. Nectar supply constitutes one of the main resources determining habitat quality. Yet, data on changes in nectar abundance are lacking. In this study, we provide the first analysis of changes in floral nectar abundance on a national scale and link these data to trends in butterfly species richness and abundance. We used transect data from the Dutch Butterfly Monitoring Scheme to compare two time periods: 1994-1995 and 2007-2008. The results show that butterfly decline can indeed be linked to a substantial decline in overall flower abundance and specific nectar plants, such as thistles. The decline is as severe in reported flower generalists as in flower specialists. We suggest that eutrophication is a main cause of the decline of nectar sources [Current Zoology 58 (3): 384-391, 2012].
Protective shade, tree diversity and soil properties in coffee agroforestry systems in the Atlantic Rainforest biome.
Souza, H.N. de; Goede, R.G.M. de; Brussaard, L. ; Cardoso, I.M. ; Duarte, E.M.G. ; Fernandes, R.B.A. ; Gomes, L.C. ; Pulleman, M.M. - \ 2012
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 146 (2012)1. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 179 - 196.
biodiversity conservation - agricultural landscapes - tropical agroecosystems - land-use - management - brazil - quality - impact - decomposition - smallholder
Sustainable production and biodiversity conservation can be mutually supportive in providing multiple ecosystem services to farmers and society. This study aimed to determine the contribution of agroforestry systems, as tested by family farmers in the Brazilian Rainforest region since 1993, to tree biodiversity and evaluated farmers’ criteria for tree species selection. In addition, long-term effects on microclimatic temperature conditions for coffee production and chemical and biological soil characteristics at the field scale were compared to full-sun coffee systems. A floristic inventory of 8 agroforests and 4 reference forest sites identified 231 tree species in total. Seventy-eight percent of the tree species found in agroforests were native. The variation in species composition among agroforests contributed to a greater ¿-diversity than a-diversity. Monthly average maximum temperatures were approximately 6 °C higher in full-sun coffee than in agroforests and forests. Total soil organic C, N mineralization and soil microbial activity were higher in forests than in coffee systems, whereas the chemical and biological soil quality in agroforests did not differ significantly from full-sun coffee after 13 years. Given its contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and its capacity to adapt coffee production to future climate change, coffee agroforestry offers a promising strategy for the area.
Strategies and economics of farming systems with coffee in the Atlantic Rainforest Biome
Nonato de Souza, H. ; Graaff, J. de; Pulleman, M.M. - \ 2012
Agroforestry Systems 84 (2012)2. - ISSN 0167-4366 - p. 227 - 242.
biodiversity conservation - agroforestry systems - ecosystem services - agricultural landscapes - environmental services - agroecosystems
In the Zona da Mata of Minas Gerais State, Brazil, family farmers are adjusting to agroecological principles to reconcile sustainable agriculture, livelihood improvements and biodiversity conservation. Starting in 1993, experimentation with coffee agroforestry was gradually initiated on an increasing number of farms (37 in total), resulting in the simultaneous management of sun coffee (SC) and agroforestry coffee (AF) plots. We aimed (1) to identify factors that determine the farmers’ selection of trees used in AF; (2) to describe the agroecological farms in transition; and (3) to perform an economic comparison between AF and SC. These objectives were addressed by combining data from botanical surveys in 1993/1994 and 2007, by interviews with farmers and by detailed data on the production value and costs of labour and material inputs. The results showed considerable diversity in farming strategies and management among the farmers. Early adopters of AF had diversified towards production of different marketable products. The use of native trees in AF for this purpose, and for restoration of soil fertility (e.g., leguminous trees), had increased since the start of the experiments, while exotic tree species were eliminated. Over a period of 12 years AF was more profitable than SC due to the production of a diversity of agricultural goods, despite somewhat higher establishment costs. Other ecosystem services delivered by AF, such as biodiversity and cultural services are currently not valorized. Payment schemes for environmental services could further improve the economic benefits of AF for family farmers and alleviate establishment and learning costs
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