Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe
Tsiafouli, M.A. ; Thébault, E. ; Sgardelis, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Putten, W.H. van der; Birkhofer, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Vries, F.T. de; Bardgett, R.D. ; Brady, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Bracht Jörgensen, H. ; Christensen, S. ; Herfelt, T. D'; Hotes, S. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Frouz, J. ; Liiri, M. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Stary, J. ; Tzanopoulos, J. ; Uteseny, C. ; Wolters, V. ; Hedlund, K. - \ 2015
Global Change Biology 21 (2015)2. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 973 - 985.
food-web structure - land-use intensity - taxonomic distinctness - community structure - phylogenetic diversity - arthropod communities - temporal variability - 7-year period - ecosystem - management
Soil biodiversity plays a key role in regulating the processes that underpin the delivery of ecosystem goods and services in terrestrial ecosystems. Agricultural intensification is known to change the diversity of individual groups of soil biota, but less is known about how intensification affects biodiversity of the soil food web as a whole, and whether or not these effects may be generalized across regions. We examined biodiversity in soil food webs from grasslands, extensive, and intensive rotations in four agricultural regions across Europe: in Sweden, the UK, the Czech Republic and Greece. Effects of land-use intensity were quantified based on structure and diversity among functional groups in the soil food web, as well as on community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. We also elucidate land-use intensity effects on diversity of taxonomic units within taxonomic groups of soil fauna. We found that between regions soil food web diversity measures were variable, but that increasing land-use intensity caused highly consistent responses. In particular, land-use intensification reduced the complexity in the soil food webs, as well as the community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. In all regions across Europe, species richness of earthworms, Collembolans, and oribatid mites was negatively affected by increased land-use intensity. The taxonomic distinctness, which is a measure of taxonomic relatedness of species in a community that is independent of species richness, was also reduced by land-use intensification. We conclude that intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity, making soil food webs less diverse and composed of smaller bodied organisms. Land-use intensification results in fewer functional groups of soil biota with fewer and taxonomically more closely related species. We discuss how these changes in soil biodiversity due to land-use intensification may threaten the functioning of soil in agricultural production systems.
Sustainable and resource efficient intensivation of crop production - Perspectives of agro-ecosystem research Policy paper of the DFG Senate Commission on Agroecosystem Research
Wolters, V. ; Isselstein, J. ; Stützel, H. ; Ordon, F. ; Haaren, C. von; Schlecht, E. ; Wesseler, J.H.H. ; Birner, R. ; Lützow, M. von; Brüggemann, N. ; Diekkrüger, B. ; Fangmeier, A. ; Flessa, H. ; Kage, H. ; Kaupenhohann, M. ; Kögel-Knabner, I. ; Mosandl, R. ; Seppelt, R. - \ 2014
Journal of Cultivated Plants 66 (2014)7. - ISSN 1867-0911 - p. 225 - 236.
With its policy paper the Senate Commission on Agro-ecosystemResearch of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) summarizes potential benefits of basic researchfor the sustainable intensification of crop production. Agro-ecosystems critically contribute to fulfilling the need forincreasing food and fiber production, diminishing resourcedepletion as well as counteracting biodiversity loss and climate change. Yield demands that are needed to ensure the food supply predicted for the year 2050 can only be achieved by scientific progress that allows the intensive yet environmentally friendly production of plant biomass (Figure ), (FAO, 2011; Dobermann und Nelson,2013; Rayet al., 2013). Sustainable intensification requires a scientific realignment that allows for broadening the scope of agricultural research. The productivity of farming systems should be evaluated with regard to their efficiency (input-output relation). In addition, the spatial and temporal variability of these systems must be considered by addressing local conditions, the landscape context and climate change. With respect to ecosystem services, new production strategies must be developed that take all aspects of landscape and regional complexity as well as socio-economic conditions and agricultural policy into account. Against this background, the Senate Commission onAgro-ecosystem Research proposes three priority areas of interdisciplinary research on resource efficient intensification of crop production: (1) Exploiting the biological potential of the individualcrop plants for an environmentally friendly intensificationin an ecosystem approach (2) Exploring sustainable intensification of crop production within a landscape context (3) Taking full account of the economic, social and politicaldimensions of sustainable intensification of crop production
Biodiversität im Grünland – unverzichtbar für Landwirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Stellungnahme des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats für Biodiversität
Gerowitt, B. ; Schröder, S. ; Dempfle, L. ; Engels, E.M. ; Engels, J. ; Feindt, P.H. ; Graner, A. ; Hamm, U. ; Heissenhuber, A. ; Schulte-Coerne, H. ; Wolters, V. - \ 2013
Bonn : Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung - 20 p.
Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems
Vries, F.T. de; Thebault, E.M.C. ; Liiri, M. ; Birkhofer, K. ; Tsiafouli, M. ; Bjornlund, L. ; Jorgensen, H.B. ; Brady, M.V. ; Christensen, S. ; Ruiter, P.C. de; Hertefeldt, T. d'; Frouz, J. ; Hedlund, K. ; Hemerik, L. ; Hol, W.H.G. ; Hotes, S. ; Mortimer, S.R. ; Setälä, H. ; Sgardelis, S.P. ; Uteseny, K. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Wolters, V. ; Bardgett, R.D. - \ 2013
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (2013)35. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 14296 - 14301.
nitrogen mineralization - carbon sequestration - bacterial community - mycorrhizal fungi - biomass - scale - intensification - decomposition - biodiversity - agriculture
Intensive land use reduces the diversity and abundance of many soil biota, with consequences for the processes that they govern and the ecosystem services that these processes underpin. Relationships between soil biota and ecosystem processes have mostly been found in laboratory experiments and rarely are found in the field. Here, we quantified, across four countries of contrasting climatic and soil conditions in Europe, how differences in soil food web composition resulting from land use systems (intensive wheat rotation, extensive rotation, and permanent grassland) influence the functioning of soils and the ecosystem services that they deliver. Intensive wheat rotation consistently reduced the biomass of all components of the soil food web across all countries. Soil food web properties strongly and consistently predicted processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations, and they were a better predictor of these processes than land use. Processes of carbon loss increased with soil food web properties that correlated with soil C content, such as earthworm biomass and fungal/bacterial energy channel ratio, and were greatest in permanent grassland. In contrast, processes of N cycling were explained by soil food web properties independent of land use, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial channel biomass. Our quantification of the contribution of soil organisms to processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations shows that soil biota need to be included in C and N cycling models and highlights the need to map and conserve soil biodiversity across the world.
The Effects of Spatial Scale on Trophic Interactions
Koppel, J. van de; Bardgett, R.D. ; Bengtsson, J. ; Rodriguez-Barrueco, C. ; Rietkerk, M. ; Wassen, M.J. ; Wolters, V. - \ 2005
Ecosystems 8 (2005)7. - ISSN 1432-9840 - p. 801 - 807.
predator-prey interactions - terrestrial food webs - bottom-up - apparent competition - top-down - ecosystems - cascades - dynamics - productivity - communities
Food chain models have dominated empirical studies of trophic interactions in the past decades, and have lead to important insights into the factors that control ecological communities. Despite the importance of food chain models in instigating ecological investigations, many empirical studies still show a strong deviation from the dynamics that food chain models predict. We present a theoretical framework that explains some of the discrepancies by showing that trophic interactions are likely to be strongly influenced by the spatial configuration of consumers and their resources. Differences in the spatial scale at which consumers and their resources function lead to uncoupling of the population dynamics of the interacting species, and may explain overexploitation and depletion of resource populations. We discuss how changed land use, likely the most prominent future stress on natural systems, may affect food web dynamics by interfering with the scale of interaction between consumers and their resource
Trophic interactions in a changing world
Putten, W.H. van der; Ruiter, P.C. de; Bezemer, T.M. ; Harvey, J.A. ; Wassen, M. ; Wolters, V. - \ 2004
Basic and Applied Ecology 5 (2004)6. - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 487 - 494.
climate-change - insect herbivores - food webs - ecosystems - biodiversity - diversity - communities - extinction - hypothesis - landscape
Across the biosphere, rapid and accelerating changes in land use, climate and atmospheric composition driven primarily by anthropogenic forces are known to exert major influences on the productivity, biodiversity and sustainable provision of ecosystem goods and services. Thus far, many studies assessing the ecological consequences of global change have focussed on single trophic levels. However, understanding these changes and predicting their consequences may benefit from unravelling how interactions between primary producers, primary, and secondary consumers (plants, herbivores and carnivores) are being affected. Conservation and restoration may be improved when assessing species and their interactions on appropriate scales, while acknowledging that above- and belowground biota are ecologically linked. Selection pressures on one species may depend on others, so that species loss means more for diversity than just loss of a single taxon. It may also result in the loss of other species of the same or different trophic levels and in the dilution, or even loss, of various selection pressures. We review a number of discussions on trophic interactions in a changing world in relation to (i) the scale of ecosystem response to environmental change with emphasis on the soil subsystem, (ii) the linkage of above- and belowground subsystems and (iii) natural selection and the stability of community structure and ecosystem functioning. We discuss the need to bring together isolated sub-disciplines of ecology in order to understand the implications of global changes for ecosystem processes
Design and evaluation of nematode 18S rDNA primers for PCR and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of soil community DNA
Waite, I.S. ; O'Donnell, A.G. ; Harrison, A. ; Davies, J.T. ; Colvan, S.R. ; Ekschmitt, K. ; Dogan, H. ; Wolters, V. ; Bongers, A.M.T. ; Bongers, M. ; Bakonyi, G. ; Nagy, P. ; Papatheodorou, E.M. ; Stamou, G.P. ; Boström, S. - \ 2003
Soil Biology and Biochemistry 35 (2003). - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 1165 - 1173.
16s ribosomal-rna - bacterial communities - hydrothermal vent - grassland soils - diversity - genes - biodiversity - populations - identification - quantification
Consensus nematode 185 ribosomal DNA primers were designed by aligning available 185 sequences and identifying a variable region flanked by highly conserved regions. These primers were then used to amplify nematode 18S rDNA from whole soil community DNA extracted from a range of European grassland types. Cloning of the PCR amplicons (778 bp) followed by restriction digest analysis (RFLP) resulted in the recovery of 34 unique nematode sequences from the four grasslands studied. Comparison of these data with the limited number of 18S rDNA nematode sequences currently held in on-line databases revealed that all of the sequences could be assigned to known nematode taxa albeit tentatively in some cases. Two of the sequences recovered from the site in the Netherlands (wet, hay-grassland) were recovered in a clade that included a sequence of the genus Trichodorus whilst other sequences from this site showed similarity with 185 rDNA sequences of the genus Prismatolaimus (five sequences), Xiphinema (one sequence) and Enoplus (one sequence). Of the remaining sequences, two showed some affinity with Mylonchulus (UK, upland peat), four with Steinernema (UK) and one sequence with Mesorhabditis (Hungary, east European Steppe). Three sequences from the Netherlands and one from Hungary were recovered in a clade that included a sequence of the genus Pratylenchoides whilst three further sequences from the Netherlands and two from Hungary were recovered in a clade encompassing the genus Globodera. Of the remaining nine sequences, two (NL6, NL62) formed a distinct lineage within the Adenophorea with 90% bootstrap recovery in a paraphyletic clade that included sequences of Prismatolaimus and Trichodorus. Seven sequences (three from the Netherlands, three from the UK and one from Greece) were left unassigned though the tree topology suggested some relationship (58% bootstrap recovery) with the genus Cephalobus. To assess whether primers used to amplify 185 rDNA might be used to fingerprint genetic diversity in nematode communities in soil, the environmental sequence data were used to design a second set of primers carrying a GC-clamp. These primers amplified a 469 by fragment internal to the region flanked by the primer set used to derive the nematode trees and were used to amplify 185 rDNA for subsequent analysis using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). DGGE analysis of six major European grassland types revealed considerable genetic diversity between sites. However, the relationships seen with the DGGE data were inconsistent with previous studies where the same soils had been characterized with respect to functional and morphological diversity. To confine that this second set of primers was amplifying nematode sequences, selected bands on the DGGE gels were extracted, PCR amplified and sequenced. The final alignment was 337 bases. These analyses revealed the presence of sequence signatures from the genera Paratrichodorus, Plectus, Steinernema, Globodera, Cephalobus and Pratylenchoides. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.