, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 417-439

Green Veining: Landscape Determinants of Biodiversity in European Agricultural Landscapes

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Abstract

Many semi-natural landscape elements, the so-called green veining, are disappearing from the intensively used agricultural landscapes of Europe. In order to develop or restore biodiversity in these networks, it is necessary to quantify the relation between biodiversity and amount, spatial arrangement and management intensity of green veining elements. In this review, we investigate whether biodiversity increases with the amount of green veining in an agricultural landscape following the species–area relationship, and whether a certain level of biodiversity can be reached at lower densities of green veining if green veining elements are better connected (higher spatial connectivity) or if they are managed less intensively (lower management intensity). We reviewed studies on aboveground biodiversity in green veining structures in 39 scientific papers on field and experimental studies within Europe. More of these studies focussed on management intensity than on amount or spatial configuration of green veining. Also more studies focussed on the spatial scale of individual landscape elements than on the farm or landscape scale, which may be caused by the large number of studies focussing on plant or invertebrate species. Species living at larger spatial scales, e.g. mammals and birds were not often studied at the level of green veining elements as they also use agricultural fields as part of their habitat. We could not verify the species–area relation for green veining, nor the effect of amount, spatial configuration or management intensity on this relation, because only few studies quantified the found effects and no studies were found on the effect of management intensity or spatial configuration on the species–area curve in green veining. We addressed the most important challenges for future field and model research in order to fill the identified gaps in knowledge.