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 relative importance of green infrastructure as refuge habitat for pollinators increases with local land-use intensity
    Li, Pengyao ; Kleijn, David ; Badenhausser, Isabelle ; Zaragoza-Trello, Carlos ; Gross, Nicolas ; Raemakers, Ivo ; Scheper, Jeroen - \ 2020
    Journal of Applied Ecology 57 (2020)8. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 1494 - 1503.
    agri-environmental measures - field boundaries - flower resources - grassland - green infrastructure - hoverflies - land-use intensity - wild bees

    Agricultural expansion and intensification have resulted in strong declines in farmland biodiversity across Europe. In many intensively farmed landscapes, linear landscape elements such as field boundaries, road verges and ditch banks are the main remaining green infrastructures providing refuge for biodiversity, and as such play a pivotal role in agri-environmental policies aiming at mitigating biodiversity loss. Yet, while we have a fairly good understanding of how agricultural intensification influences biodiversity on farmland, little is known about whether and how local land-use intensity affects biodiversity in nearby linear landscape elements and how this affects their role as biodiversity refuge. Focussing on pollinating insects, we examined the effects of local land-use intensity on biodiversity in agricultural fields and adjacent green infrastructures. In an intensively farmed area in south-western France, we selected 23 agricultural grasslands and nearby field boundaries along a gradient in grassland cutting frequency which acted as a proxy for land-use intensity. We analysed how grassland cutting frequency affects species richness, abundance and community composition of wild bees and hoverflies in the grasslands and neighbouring field boundaries, and whether these effects differ across habitat types and species groups. Grassland cutting frequency negatively affected pollinator species richness and abundance in the grasslands, whereas pollinators in the neighbouring field boundaries were unaffected. These responses reflected the effects of cutting frequency on floral resources, with flower cover and richness decreasing in grasslands but not in field boundaries. As a result, the proportion of the local pollinator community supported by field boundaries increased with the increasing cutting frequency of the adjacent grassland. Common and rare pollinator species generally showed similar responses. Furthermore, communities of plants and pollinators in field boundaries next to intensively farmed grasslands were fairly similar to those next to extensively farmed ones. Synthesis and applications. Our results suggest that, as nearby land use intensifies, flower-rich field boundaries become increasingly important as pollinator refuge habitats. Conserving field boundaries and other green infrastructures, and maintaining or enhancing their quality, therefore constitute important tools to conserve and promote pollinators in intensively farmed landscapes.

    Effectiveness of agri-environmental management on pollinators is moderated more by ecological contrast than by landscape structure or land-use intensity
    Marja, Riho ; Kleijn, David ; Tscharntke, Teja ; Klein, Alexandra Maria ; Frank, Thomas ; Batáry, Péter - \ 2019
    Ecology Letters 22 (2019)9. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 1493 - 1500.
    Agri-environmental schemes - bees - biodiversity - butterflies - ecosystem services - flower strips - hoverflies - land-use intensity - meta-analysis

    Agri-environment management (AEM) started in the 1980s in Europe to mitigate biodiversity decline, but the effectiveness of AEM has been questioned. We hypothesize that this is caused by a lack of a large enough ecological contrast between AEM and non-treated control sites. The effectiveness of AEM may be moderated by landscape structure and land-use intensity. Here, we examined the influence of local ecological contrast, landscape structure and regional land-use intensity on AEM effectiveness in a meta-analysis of 62 European pollinator studies. We found that ecological contrast was most important in determining the effectiveness of AEM, but landscape structure and regional land-use intensity played also a role. In conclusion, the most successful way to enhance AEM effectiveness for pollinators is to implement measures that result in a large ecological improvement at a local scale, which exhibit a strong contrast to conventional practices in simple landscapes of intensive land-use regions.

    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.
    Harnessing the biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland
    Sutcliffe, L.M.E. ; Batary, P. ; Kormann, U. ; Baldi, A. ; Dicks, L.V. ; Herzon, I. ; Kleijn, D. ; Tscharntke, T. - \ 2015
    Diversity and Distributions 21 (2015)6. - ISSN 1366-9516 - p. 722 - 730.
    agri-environmental measures - buntings miliaria-calandra - common agricultural policy - land-use intensity - species richness - bird populations - member states - eu accession - intensification - conservation
    A large proportion of European biodiversity today depends on habitat provided by low-intensity farming practices, yet this resource is declining as European agriculture intensifies. Within the European Union, particularly the central and eastern new member states have retained relatively large areas of species-rich farmland, but despite increased investment in nature conservation here in recent years, farmland biodiversity trends appear to be worsening. Although the high biodiversity value of Central and Eastern European farmland has long been reported, the amount of research in the international literature focused on farmland biodiversity in this region remains comparatively tiny, and measures within the EU Common Agricultural Policy are relatively poorly adapted to support it. In this opinion study, we argue that, 10 years after the accession of the first eastern EU new member states, the continued under-representation of the low-intensity farmland in Central and Eastern Europe in the international literature and EU policy is impeding the development of sound, evidence-based conservation interventions. The biodiversity benefits for Europe of existing low-intensity farmland, particularly in the central and eastern states, should be harnessed before they are lost. Instead of waiting for species-rich farmland to further decline, targeted research and monitoring to create locally appropriate conservation strategies for these habitats is needed now.
    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.
    Effects of grazing and biogeographic regions on grassland biodiversity in Hungary: analysing assemblages of 1200 species
    Báldi, A. ; Batáry, P. ; Kleijn, D. - \ 2013
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 166 (2013). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 28 - 34.
    agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - farmland birds - european countries - landscape scale - conservation - diversity - management - plant - communities
    Agricultural intensification is a major threat to biodiversity. Agri-environment schemes, the main tools to counteract negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, are having mixed effects on biodiversity. One reason for this may be the limited number of species (groups) covered by most studies. Here, we compared species richness and abundance of 10 different species groups on extensively (0.5 cattle/ha) and intensively (1.0–1.2 cattle/ha) grazed semi-natural pastures in 42 fields in three Hungarian regions. Plants, birds and arthropods (leafhoppers, true bugs, orthopterans, leaf-beetles, weevils, bees, carabids, spiders) were sampled. We recorded 347 plant species, 748 territories of 43 bird species, and 51,883 individuals of 808 arthropod species. Compared to West European farmlands, species richness was generally very high. Grazing intensity had minor effects on ¿ and ¿ diversity, abundance and composition of the species assemblages. Region had significant effects on species richness and abundance of four taxa, and had strong effects on ¿ diversity and species composition of all taxa. Regional differences therefore contributed significantly to the high overall biodiversity. We conclude that both grazing regimes deliver significant biodiversity benefits. Agri-environmental policy at the EU level should promote the maintenance of large scale extensive farming systems. At the national level, the effectiveness of agri-environment schemes should be improved via promoting and using research evidence
    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.
    Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes - eight hypotheses
    Tscharntke, T. ; Tylianakis, J.M. ; Rand, T.A. ; Didham, R.K. ; Fahrig, L. ; Batary, P. ; Bengtsson, J. ; Clough, Y. ; Crist, T.O. ; Dormann, C. ; Ewers, R.M. ; Frund, J. ; Holt, R.D. ; Holzschuh, A. ; Klein, A.M. ; Kleijn, D. ; Kremen, C. ; Landis, D.A. ; Laurance, W.F. ; Lindenmayer, D.B. ; Scherber, C. ; Sodhi, N. ; Steffan-Dewenter, I. ; Thies, C. ; Putten, W.H. van der; Westphal, C. - \ 2012
    Biological Reviews 87 (2012)3. - ISSN 1464-7931 - p. 661 - 685.
    different spatial scales - agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - experimentally fragmented landscape - species-area relationships - tropical habitat gradient - soil decomposer community - biological-control agents - natural enemy diversity - food-web str
    Understanding how landscape characteristics affect biodiversity patterns and ecological processes at local and landscape scales is critical for mitigating effects of global environmental change. In this review, we use knowledge gained from human-modified landscapes to suggest eight hypotheses, which we hope will encourage more systematic research on the role of landscape composition and configuration in determining the structure of ecological communities, ecosystem functioning and services. We organize the eight hypotheses under four overarching themes. Section A: ‘landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns' includes (1) the landscape species pool hypothesis—the size of the landscape-wide species pool moderates local (alpha) biodiversity, and (2) the dominance of beta diversity hypothesis—landscape-moderated dissimilarity of local communities determines landscape-wide biodiversity and overrides negative local effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Section B: ‘landscape moderation of population dynamics' includes (3) the cross-habitat spillover hypothesis—landscape-moderated spillover of energy, resources and organisms across habitats, including between managed and natural ecosystems, influences landscape-wide community structure and associated processes and (4) the landscape-moderated concentration and dilution hypothesis—spatial and temporal changes in landscape composition can cause transient concentration or dilution of populations with functional consequences. Section C: ‘landscape moderation of functional trait selection’ includes (5) the landscape-moderated functional trait selection hypothesis—landscape moderation of species trait selection shapes the functional role and trajectory of community assembly, and (6) the landscape-moderated insurance hypothesis—landscape complexity provides spatial and temporal insurance, i.e. high resilience and stability of ecological processes in changing environments. Section D: ‘landscape constraints on conservation management' includes (7) the intermediate landscape-complexity hypothesis—landscape-moderated effectiveness of local conservation management is highest in structurally simple, rather than in cleared (i.e. extremely simplified) or in complex landscapes, and (8) the landscape-moderated biodiversity versus ecosystem service management hypothesis—landscape-moderated biodiversity conservation to optimize functional diversity and related ecosystem services will not protect endangered species. Shifting our research focus from local to landscape-moderated effects on biodiversity will be critical to developing solutions for future biodiversity and ecosystem service management.
    Taxonomic and functional diversity of farmland bird communities across Europe: effects of biogeography and agricultural intensification
    Guerrero, I. ; Morales, M.B. ; Onate, J.J. ; Aavik, T. ; Bengtsson, J. ; Berendse, F. ; Geiger, F. - \ 2011
    Biodiversity and Conservation 20 (2011)14. - ISSN 0960-3115 - p. 3663 - 3681.
    land-use intensity - species richness - steppe birds - biodiversity - landscape - heterogeneity - productivity - distinctness - assemblages - indicators
    Abstract In eight European study sites (in Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Estonia and Sweden), abundance of breeding farmland bird territories was obtained from 500 9 500 m survey plots (30 per area, N = 240) using the mapping method. Two analyses were performed: (I) a Canonical Correspondence Analysis of species abundance in relation to geographical location and variables measuring agricultural intensification at field and farm level to identify significant intensification variables and to estimate the fractions of total variance in bird abundance explained by geography and agricultural intensification; (II) several taxonomic and functional community indices were built and analysed using GLM in relation to the intensification variables found significant in the CCA. The geographical location of study sites alone explains nearly one fifth (19.5%) of total variation in species abundance. The fraction of variance explained by agricultural intensification alone is much smaller (4.3%), although significant. The intersectionexplains nearly two fifths (37.8%) of variance in species abundance. Community indices are negatively affected by correlates of intensification like farm size and yield, whereas correlates of habitat availability and quality have positive effects on taxonomic and functional diversity of assemblages. Most of the purely geographical variation in farmland bird assemblage composition is associated to Mediterranean steppe species, reflecting the bio-geographical singularity of that assemblage and reinforcing the need to preserve this community. Taxonomic and functional diversity of farmland bird communities are negatively affected by agricultural intensification and positively affected by increasing farmland habitat availability and quality.
    Agricultural intensification and biodiversity partitioning in European landscapes comparing plants, carabids, and birds
    Flohre, A. ; Fischer, C. ; Aavik, T. ; Bengtson, J. ; Berendse, F. ; Geiger, F. - \ 2011
    Ecological Applications 21 (2011)5. - ISSN 1051-0761 - p. 1772 - 1781.
    different spatial scales - land-use intensity - species-diversity - beta-diversity - farmland biodiversity - organic agriculture - biological-control - gamma-diversity - alpha-diversity - margin strips
    Effects of agricultural intensification (AI) on biodiversity are often assessed on the plot scale, although processes determining diversity also operate on larger spatial scales. Here, we analyzed the diversity of vascular plants, carabid beetles, and birds in agricultural landscapes in cereal crop fields at the field (n = 1350), farm (n = 270), and European-region (n = 9) scale. We partitioned diversity into its additive components a, ß, and ¿, and assessed the relative contribution of ß diversity to total species richness at each spatial scale. AI was determined using pesticide and fertilizer inputs, as well as tillage operations and categorized into low, medium, and high levels. As AI was not significantly related to landscape complexity, we could disentangle potential AI effects on local vs. landscape community homogenization. AI negatively affected the species richness of plants and birds, but not carabid beetles, at all spatial scales. Hence, local AI was closely correlated to ß diversity on larger scales up to the farm and region level, and thereby was an indicator of farm- and region-wide biodiversity losses. At the scale of farms (12.83–20.52%) and regions (68.34–80.18%), ß diversity accounted for the major part of the total species richness for all three taxa, indicating great dissimilarity in environmental conditions on larger spatial scales. For plants, relative importance of a diversity decreased with AI, while relative importance of ß diversity on the farm scale increased with AI for carabids and birds. Hence, and in contrast to our expectations, AI does not necessarily homogenize local communities, presumably due to the heterogeneity of farming practices. In conclusion, a more detailed understanding of AI effects on diversity patterns of various taxa and at multiple spatial scales would contribute to more efficient agri-environmental schemes in agroecosystems
    Does conservation on farmland contribute to halting the biodiversity decline?
    Kleijn, D. ; Rundlöf, M. ; Scheper, J.A. ; Smith, H.G. ; Tscharntke, T. - \ 2011
    Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26 (2011)9. - ISSN 0169-5347 - p. 474 - 481.
    agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - agricultural intensification - landscape context - species richness - european countries - bird populations - biological-control - grazing intensity - natural enemies
    Biodiversity continues to decline, despite the implementation of international conservation conventions and measures. To counteract biodiversity loss, it is pivotal to know how conservation actions affect biodiversity trends. Focussing on European farmland species, we review what is known about the impact of conservation initiatives on biodiversity. We argue that the effects of conservation are a function of conservation-induced ecological contrast, agricultural land-use intensity and landscape context. We find that, to date, only a few studies have linked local conservation effects to national biodiversity trends. It is therefore unknown how the extensive European agri-environmental budget for conservation on farmland contributes to the policy objectives to halt biodiversity decline. Based on this review, we identify new research directions addressing this important knowledge gap.
    Interactions between abiotic filters, landscape structure and species traits as determinants of dairy farmland plant diversity
    Lomba, A. ; Bunce, R.G.H. ; Jongman, R.H.G. ; Moreira, F. ; Honrado, J. - \ 2011
    Landscape and Urban Planning 99 (2011)2010. - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 248 - 258.
    land-use intensity - agricultural landscapes - biodiversity conservation - regional biodiversity - beta diversity - great-britain - richness - intensification - patterns - habitat
    Maintaining farmland biodiversity in Europe under scenarios of agricultural intensification is a keystone challenge of nature conservation. The recruitment of species from the regional pool to local landscape mosaics and individual patches is known to be determined by multi-scale ecological filters. Here we aimed at clarifying the relative importance of the physical environment, land use and landscape structure, and species traits, as filters of landscape-level plant species diversity in intensive farmland. Vascular plant species diversity was surveyed in 18 dairy farmland mosaics along a gradient of agricultural specialisation in Northern Portugal. Plant species were grouped according to their life strategy, biogeographic origin, and synecological preferences. Species richness was found to be highest in lowland areas, where warmer climate and nutrient-rich soils contribute to balance the potential negative effects of intensive farming. Multiple predictors, related to physical environment (e.g. climate), land use (e.g. crop area), and landscape structure (e.g. mean patch size), were found to influence diversity patterns, even under the homogenizing effects of agricultural intensification. Dissimilarity models discriminated distinct types of responses, with patterns for biogeographic and synecological groups of species being better predicted by landscape based models. In contrast, a dominant role of physical predictors was observed in explaining diversity patterns for plant strategies. Overall, our results confirmed that physical environmental gradients, land use, landscape structure, and species traits interact in determining landscape-level plant diversity patterns. Such patterns may influence agro-ecosystem responses to environmental changes, and thus should be considered in the development of agri-environmental policies and monitoring schemes.
    Mapping and modelling of changes in agricultural intensity in Europe
    Temme, A.J.A.M. ; Verburg, P.H. - \ 2011
    Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 140 (2011)1-2. - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 46 - 56.
    land-use intensity - biodiversity - intensification - impacts - landscapes - scenarios
    Spatial maps of agricultural intensity are needed for analyses of environmental issues, including biodiversity changes. We present a method to produce such maps for Europe. While most studies beyond farm level focus on land cover change only, this paper focuses on spatial variation in land use intensity and its dynamics. Our method defines agricultural land use intensity in terms of nitrogen input. For arable land, it combines field observations with administrative-level statistics to assess probability of occurrence for three land use intensity classes. For grassland, it uses maps of livestock density to assess probability of occurrence for two intensity classes. Agricultural land is spatially allocated to intensity classes using an algorithm that downscales intensity changes simulated with an agricultural economic model. Our results are 1 km2 resolution maps of classified agricultural land use intensity in the year 2000. We illustrate the method by exploring changes in the spatial pattern of land use intensity for a financial policy reform scenario in the year 2025. Results indicate spatial heterogeneity in land use intensity across European countries, including large differences in intensity between countries, between regions, but also within regions. Our method could be improved with smaller-resolution agricultural statistics and broader intensity indicators.
    Pervasive effects of dispersal limitation on within- and among-community species richness in agricultural landscapes
    Hendrickx, F. ; Maelfait, J.P. ; Desender, K. ; Aviron, S. ; Bailey, D. ; Diekotter, T. ; Lens, L. ; Liira, J. ; Schweiger, O. ; Speelmans, M. ; Vandomme, V. ; Bugter, R.J.F. - \ 2009
    Global Ecology and Biogeography 18 (2009)5. - ISSN 1466-822X - p. 607 - 616.
    source-sink metacommunities - habitat diversity affect - land-use intensity - beetle assemblages - spatial-pattern - ground beetles - patch size - biodiversity - fragmentation - traits
    Aim To determine whether the effect of habitat fragmentation and habitat heterogeneity on species richness at different spatial scales depends on the dispersal ability of the species assemblages and if this results in nested species assemblages. Location Agricultural landscapes distributed over seven temperate Europe countries covering a range from France to Estonia. Methods We sampled 16 local communities in each of 24 agricultural landscapes (16 km(2)) that differ in the amount and heterogeneity of semi-natural habitat patches. Carabid beetles were used as model organisms as dispersal ability can easily be assessed on morphological traits. The proximity and heterogeneity of semi-natural patches within the landscape were related to average local (alpha), between local (beta) and landscape (gamma) species richness and compared among four guilds that differ in dispersal ability. Results For species assemblages with low dispersal ability, local diversity increased as the proximity of semi-natural habitat increased, while mobile species showed an opposite trend. Beta diversity decreased equally for all dispersal classes in relation to proximity, suggesting a homogenizing effect of increased patch isolation. In contrast, habitat diversity of the semi-natural patches affected beta diversity positively only for less mobile species, probably due to the low dispersal ability of specialist species. Species with low mobility that persisted in highly fragmented landscapes were consistently present in less fragmented ones, resulting in nested assemblages for this mobility class only. Main conclusions The incorporation of dispersal ability reveals that only local species assemblages with low dispersal ability show a decrease of richness as a result of fragmentation. This local species loss is compensated at least in part by an increase in species with high dispersal ability, which obscures the effect of fragmentation when investigated across dispersal groups. Conversely, fragmentation homogenizes the landscape fauna for all dispersal groups, which indicates the invasion of non-crop habitats by similar good dispersers across the whole landscape. Given that recolonization of low dispersers is unlikely, depletion of these species in modern agricultural landscapes appears temporally pervasive.
    Ecological impacts of early 21st century agricultural change in Europe - A review
    Stoate, C. ; Báldi, A. ; Beja, P. ; Boatman, N.D. ; Herzon, I. ; Doorn, A.M. van; Snoo, G.R. de; Rakosy, L. ; Ramwell, C. - \ 2009
    Journal of Environmental Management 91 (2009)1. - ISSN 0301-4797 - p. 22 - 46.
    agri-environment schemes - land-use intensity - conventional arable farms - skylarks alauda-arvensis - modified herbicide-tolerant - plant-species richness - short-rotation coppice - set-aside land - farmland birds - landscape context
    The impacts of agricultural land use are far-reaching and extend to areas outside production. This paper provides an overview of the ecological status of agricultural systems across the European Union in the light of recent policy changes. It builds on the previous review of 2001 devoted to the impacts of agricultural intensification in Western Europe. The focus countries are the UK, The Netherlands, Boreal and Baltic countries, Portugal, Hungary and Romania, representing a geographical spread across Europe, but additional reference is made to other countries. Despite many adjustments to agricultural policy, intensification of production in some regions and concurrent abandonment in others remain the major threat to the ecology of agro-ecosystems impairing the state of soil, water and air and reducing biological diversity in agricultural landscapes. The impacts also extend to surrounding terrestrial and aquatic systems through water and aerial contamination and development of agricultural infrastructures (e.g. dams and irrigation channels). Improvements are also documented regionally, such as successful support of farmland species, and improved condition of watercourses and landscapes. This was attributed to agricultural policy targeted at the environment, improved environmental legislation, and new market opportunities. Research into ecosystem services associated with agriculture may provide further pressure to develop policy that is targeted at their continuous provisioning, fostering motivation of land managers to continue to protect and enhance them
    Prediction uncertainty of environmental change effects on temperate European biodiversity
    Dormann, C. ; Schweiger, O. ; Arens, P.F.P. ; Augenstein, I. ; Aviron, S. ; Bailey, D. ; Baudry, J. ; Billeter, R. ; Bugter, R.J.F. ; Bukacek, R. ; Burel, F. ; Cerny, M. ; Cock, R. de; Blust, G. de; DeFilippi, R. ; Diekotter, T. ; Dirksen, J. ; Durka, W. ; Edwards, P.J. ; Frenzel, M. ; Hamersky, R. ; Hendrickx, F. ; Herzog, F. ; Klotz, S. ; Koolstra, B.J.H. ; Lausch, A. ; Coeur, D. Le; Liira, J. ; Maelfait, J.P. ; Opdam, P. ; Roubalova, M. ; Schermann, A. ; Schermann, N. ; Schmidt, T. ; Smulders, M.J.M. ; Speelmans, M. ; Simova, P. ; Verboom, J. ; Wingerden, W.K.R.E. van; Zobel, M. - \ 2008
    Ecology Letters 11 (2008)3. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 235 - 244.
    land-use intensity - climate-change - species richness - agricultural landscapes - extinction risk - cover data - models - distributions - communities - envelope
    Observed patterns of species richness at landscape scale (gamma diversity) cannot always be attributed to a specific set of explanatory variables, but rather different alternative explanatory statistical models of similar quality may exist. Therefore predictions of the effects of environmental change (such as in climate or land cover) on biodiversity may differ considerably, depending on the chosen set of explanatory variables. Here we use multimodel prediction to evaluate effects of climate, land-use intensity and landscape structure on species richness in each of seven groups of organisms (plants, birds, spiders, wild bees, ground beetles, true bugs and hoverflies) in temperate Europe. We contrast this approach with traditional best-model predictions, which we show, using cross-validation, to have inferior prediction accuracy. Multimodel inference changed the importance of some environmental variables in comparison with the best model, and accordingly gave deviating predictions for environmental change effects. Overall, prediction uncertainty for the multimodel approach was only slightly higher than that of the best model, and absolute changes in predicted species richness were also comparable. Richness predictions varied generally more for the impact of climate change than for land-use change at the coarse scale of our study. Overall, our study indicates that the uncertainty introduced to environmental change predictions through uncertainty in model selection both qualitatively and quantitatively affects species richness projections.
    Assessing the intensity of temperate European agriculture at the landscape scale
    Herzog, F. ; Steiner, B. ; Bailey, D. ; Baudry, J. ; Billeter, R. ; Bukacek, R. ; Blust, G. de; Cock, R. de; Dirksen, J. ; Dormann, C. ; DeFilippi, R. ; Frossard, E. ; Liira, J. ; Schmidt, T. ; Stockli, R. ; Thenail, C. ; Wingerden, W.K.R.E. van; Bugter, R.J.F. - \ 2006
    European Journal of Agronomy 24 (2006)2. - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 165 - 181.
    land-use intensity - population-dynamics - southern england - natural enemies - farming systems - soil fertility - use efficiency - resource use - intensification - diversity
    The intensity of agricultural production was assessed in 25 landscape test sites across temperate Europe using a standardised farmer questionnaire. The intensity indicators, nitrogen input (to arable crops and to permanent grassland), density of livestock units and number of pesticide applications (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and retardants), were recorded and integrated into an overall intensity index. All three components were needed to appropriately characterise the intensity of agricultural management. Four hypotheses were tested. (i) A low diversity of crops is related to higher intensity. The contrary was observed, namely because diverse crop rotations contained a higher share of crops which are more demanding in terms of nitrogen and of plant protection. (ii) Intensity decreases when there is more permanent grassland. This was confirmed by our study. (iii) Large farms are managed more intensively. There was no relation between farm size and intensity. (iv) Large fields are managed more intensively. There was a tendency towards higher nitrogen input and livestock density in landscapes with larger fields but only a few of the results were statistically significant. The aggregated overall intensity index was of limited usefulness mainly because of limitations in interpretability.
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