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Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the crop mosaic influences carabid beetles in agricultural landscapes

Abstract

Context

Landscape spatio-temporal heterogeneity is regarded as an important driver of biodiversity. In agricultural landscapes, the composition and configuration of cultivated fields and their multi-year dynamics should be considered. But the habitat-matrix paradigm in landscape ecology has resulted in little consideration of cropped areas.

Objectives

The main objective of our study was to determine the influences of spatial and multi-year temporal heterogeneity of the crop mosaic on carabid beetle assemblages of agricultural landscapes.

Methods

Carabids were sampled in 40 cereal fields in western France, and their species richness, total abundance and abundance of species groups with different dispersal abilities were measured. For each sampling site, we computed different metrics that characterized crop mosaic spatial and temporal heterogeneity. We quantified relationships between carabid assemblages and heterogeneity metrics and tested their significance.

Results

Total carabid abundance increased with increase in temporal heterogeneity of the crop mosaic. However, all species were not influenced in the same way by spatial and temporal heterogeneity metrics. Some species with high dispersal power such as Trechus quadristriatus were more abundant in landscapes with high spatial heterogeneity, whereas the abundance of less mobile species such as Poecilus cupreus were only positively influenced by temporal crop dynamics.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that both the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the crop mosaic affects farmland biodiversity, at least for species that use crops during their life cycle or disperse through fields. We highlight the importance of taking this heterogeneity into account in further ecological studies on biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

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Acknowledgments

C.B. received a Ph.D. scholarship from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (Université de Rennes 1). Field work was carried out as part of FarmLand, an ERA-Net BiodivERsA project funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR-11-EBID-0004). Multispectral satellite images were acquired from GEOSUD, a project (ANR-10-EQPX-20) in the program “Investissements d’Avenir” managed by the French National Research Agency, the ISIS Programme of the French space agency CNES and the Zone Atelier Armorique. Special thanks go to Romain Georges, Diab Al Hassan and Olivier Jambon for help in the field, to David Giralt (CTFC, Solsona - Spain), Audrey Alignier and Stéphanie Aviron for valuable suggestions and to Dr. K. Harper for English editing. Finally, we thank the LETG-Rennes-COSTEL lab for the original map used for landscape selection and Julien Deniau for the construction of the land-use maps. This study was made possible by the acceptance of farmers to let us sample in their fields.

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Correspondence to Colette Bertrand.

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Bertrand, C., Burel, F. & Baudry, J. Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the crop mosaic influences carabid beetles in agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecol 31, 451–466 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-015-0259-4

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Keywords

  • Agroecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Dispersal abilities
  • Ground beetles
  • Landscape agronomy
  • Landscape heterogeneity