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Local and landscape effects of agricultural intensification on Carabid community structure and weed seed predation in a perennial cropping system

Abstract

Context

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.

Objectives

Our objectives were to examine the effects of local and landscape agricultural intensification on ground beetle community structure and weed seed predation services.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Aurore Sage, Benjamin Joubard, Alice Chéron and Emilie Vergnes for precious assistance during fieldwork. This research was funded by a grant from the CASDAR Biocontrol to AR and DT and by a Grant from INRA SPE to AR. This research was carried out within the cluster of excellence COTE (Continental to Coastal Ecosystems: Evolution, Adaptability and Governance).

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Correspondence to Adrien Rusch.

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Rusch, A., Binet, D., Delbac, L. et al. Local and landscape effects of agricultural intensification on Carabid community structure and weed seed predation in a perennial cropping system. Landscape Ecol 31, 2163–2174 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0390-x

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Keywords

  • Biological control
  • Carabidae
  • Ecological intensification
  • Functional diversity
  • Predators
  • Trophic interactions
  • Beta diversity
  • Species turnover