Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 10, Issue 9, pp 1497–1511 | Cite as

Plant and insect diversity along a pollution gradient: understanding species richness across trophic levels

  • Martin Brändle
  • Uwe Amarell
  • Harald Auge
  • Stefan Klotz
  • Roland Brandl


We analysed species richness of plants and true bugs (Insecta, Heteroptera) along a pollution gradient in Scots pine stands in Central Germany. As a consequence of particulate deposition, pH-values of soils increased in the vicinity of the emission source. Therefore, emission increased productivity. Species richness of plants increased with decreasing distance from emission source, and thus with increasing productivity. Similarly, species richness of herbivorous Heteroptera increased with decreasing distance from emission source, whereas, surprisingly, abundance decreased. The proportion of specialised herbivorous bug species is largest in the vicinity of the emission source. Thus, the diversity pattern of herbivores may be explained by the ‘specialisation hypothesis’ and not the ‘consumer rarity hypothesis’. Species richness and abundance of carnivorous Heteroptera showed no significant trend along the gradient. Overall our data favour the ‘bottom-up’ control of species diversity in the analysed system.

bottom-up diversity insect plant productivity top-down 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Brändle
    • 1
  • Uwe Amarell
    • 1
  • Harald Auge
    • 1
  • Stefan Klotz
    • 1
  • Roland Brandl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community EcologyUFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle Ltd.Halle/ SaaleGermany

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