Positive effect of environmentally friendly farming on paddy field odonate assemblages at a small landscape scale

  • Yuki G. BabaEmail author
  • Yoshinobu Kusumoto
  • Koichi Tanaka


Odonata species can be used to indicate the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on agrobiodiversity. In Japan, populations of some odonate species inhabiting rice paddy fields have decreased strongly owing to their high susceptibility to insecticides, and they therefore need to be conserved. To identify effective conservation strategies, we investigated how agricultural practices (conventional vs. environmentally friendly: EF) and surrounding landscape (area of forest at three spatial scales, namely 50, 100 and 200 m from the edge of the paddy field) influenced the abundance of odonates in rice paddies in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. Generalized linear mixed-effect models revealed that EF farming increased the abundance of odonate adults and the number of nymphal exuviae, suggesting a strong negative effect of insecticides. The influence of forest area at the local scale on the numbers of odonate adults and nymphal exuviae was small, with the exception of a strong negative influence on adult Sympetrum infuscatum: the presence of a large area of forest within 200 m of the edge of the paddy field reduced their abundance, probably reflecting this dragonfly’s oviposition site preference. Our results suggest that EF farming could generally support the conservation and recovery of local populations of odonates, but its effectiveness potentially varies depending on the ecological aspects of each species.


Fipronil Forest Neonicotinoid Sympetrum frequens Sympetrum infuscatum 



We thank Shu-ichi Sugiyama, Toshihiro Yoshida, Yoshiharu Yoshida, and Tamotsu Yoshida for allowing us to survey their paddy fields, and the late Katsuo Abe for helping with the field survey. This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan through the “Development of agricultural pest control system by the effective use of indigenous natural enemies” project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Agro-Environmental SciencesNAROTsukuba-shiJapan
  2. 2.Western Region Agricultural Research Center, NAROZentsuji-shiJapan

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