Local and landscape effects of agricultural intensification on Carabid community structure and weed seed predation in a perennial cropping system
The effects of agricultural intensification on service-providing communities remain poorly studied in perennial cropping systems. However, such systems differ greatly from annual cropping systems in terms of spatio-temporal dynamics and levels of disturbance. Identifying how land use changes at different scales affect communities and ecosystem services in those habitats is of major importance.
Our objectives were to examine the effects of local and landscape agricultural intensification on ground beetle community structure and weed seed predation services.
We examined the effects of local vegetation management and landscape context on ground beetle community structure and weed seed predation in 20 vineyards of southwestern France in 2013 and 2014. Vineyards were selected along a landscape complexity gradient and experienced different management of local vegetation.
The activity-density of ground beetles decreased with increasing landscape complexity while species richness and evenness remained unchanged. Phytophagous and macropterous species dominated ground beetle communities. Seed predation was positively related to the activity-density of one species, Harpalus dimidiatus, and was not affected by local management or landscape context. We found that within-year temporal diversity in ground beetle assemblages increased with landscape complexity.
Our study shows that increasing the proportion of semi-natural habitats in vineyard landscapes enhances the temporal diversity of ground beetles. However, we also found that measures targeting specific species delivering biological control services are a reasonable strategy if we are to maximize natural pest control services such as weed seed regulation to support crop production and reduce agrochemical use.
KeywordsBiological control Carabidae Ecological intensification Functional diversity Predators Trophic interactions Beta diversity Species turnover
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