Advertisement

Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 10, Issue 11, pp 1839–1863 | Cite as

Plants, insects and birds in semi-natural pastures in relation to local habitat and landscape factors

  • Bo Söderström
  • Birgitta Svensson
  • Karolina Vessby
  • Anders Glimskär
Article

Abstract

The preservation of remaining semi-natural grasslands in Europe has a high conservation priority. Previously, the effects of artificial fertilisation and grazing intensity on grassland animal and plant taxa have been extensively investigated. In contrast, little is known of the effects of tree and shrub cover within semi-natural grasslands and composition of habitats in the surrounding landscape on grassland taxa. We evaluated the effect that each of these factors has on species richness and community structure of vascular plants, butterflies, bumble bees, ground beetles, dung beetles and birds surveyed simultaneously in 31 semi-natural pastures in a farmland landscape in south-central Sweden. Partial correlation analyses showed that increasing proportion of the pasture area covered by shrubs and trees had a positive effect on species richness on most taxa. Furthermore, species richness of nectar seeking butterflies and bumble bees were negatively associated with grazing intensity as reflected by grass height. At the landscape level, species richness of all taxa decreased (butterflies and birds significantly so) with increasing proportion of urban elements in a 1-km2 landscape area centred on each pasture, while the number of plant and bird species were lower in landscapes with large proportion of arable fields. Our results differed markedly depending on whether the focus was on species richness or community structure. Canonical correspondence analyses (CCA) showed that the abundance of most taxa was ordered along a gradient describing tree cover within pastures and proportion of arable fields in the landscape. However, subsets of grassland birds and vascular plants, respectively, showed markedly different distribution patterns along axis one of the CCA. In contrast to current conservation policy of semi-natural pastures in Sweden, our results strongly advise against using a single-taxon approach (i.e., grassland vascular plants) to design management and conservation actions in semi-natural pastures. Careful consideration of conservation values linked to the tree and shrub layers in grasslands should always precede decisions to remove trees and shrubs on the grounds of promoting richness of vascular plants confined to semi-natural grasslands. Finally, the importance of landscape composition for mobile organisms such as birds entails that management activities should focus on the wider countryside and not exclusively on single pastures.

birds habitat insects landscape semi-natural pastures Sweden vascular plants vegetation structure 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baars MA (1979) Patterns of movement of radioactive Carabid beetles. Oecologia 44: 125-140Google Scholar
  2. Balmer O and Erhardt A (2000) Consequences of succession on extensively grazed grasslands for central European butterfly communities: rethinking conservation practices. Conservation Biology 14: 746-757Google Scholar
  3. Banaszak J (1980) Studies on methods of censusing the number of bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Polish Ecological Studies 6: 355-366Google Scholar
  4. Beaufoy G,Baldock D andClark J (1994) The Nature of Farming: Low Intensity Farming Systems in Nine European Countries. Institute for European Environmental Policy, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Bennett AF,Henein K andMerriam G (1994) Corridor use and the elements of corridor quality: chipmunks and fencerows in a farmland mosaic. Biological Conservation 68: 155-165Google Scholar
  6. Berg Å andTjernberg M (1996) Common and rare Swedish vertebrates: distribution and habitat preferences. Biodiversity and Conservation 5: 101-128Google Scholar
  7. Bibby CJ,Burgess D andHill DA (1992) Bird Census Techniques. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Bignal EM andMcCracken DI (1996) Low-intensity farming systems in the conservation of the countryside. Journal of Applied Ecology 33: 413-424Google Scholar
  9. Blair RB (1996) Land use and avian species diversity along an urban gradient. Ecological Applications 6: 506-519Google Scholar
  10. Blair RB (1999) Birds and butterflies along an urban gradient: surrogate taxa for assessing biodiversity? Ecological Applications 9: 164-170Google Scholar
  11. Blair RB andLauner AE (1997) Butterfly diversity and human land use: species assemblages along an urban gradient. Biological Conservation 80: 113-125Google Scholar
  12. Cederberg B (1999) Wild bees. Kungliga Skogs-och Lantbruksakademiens Tidskrift 138: 63-68Google Scholar
  13. Cramp S (1985) The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol IV. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Dahl B (1978)Fjärilar i naturen. Europas dagfjärilar: 1 Nordeuropa. Stockholm, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  15. Dennis P,Young MR,Howard CL andGordon IJ (1997) The response of epigeal beetles (Col.: Carabidae, Staphylinidae) to varied grazing regimes on upland Nardus stricta grasslands. Journal of Applied Ecology 34: 433-443Google Scholar
  16. Dramstad W andFry G (1995) Foraging activity of bumblebees (Bombus) in relation to flower resources on arable land. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 53: 123-135Google Scholar
  17. Dunning JB,Danielson BJ andPulliam HR (1992) Ecological processes that affect populations in complex landscapes. Oikos 65: 169-175Google Scholar
  18. Ekstam U andForshed N (1992) If Management Ceases. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Solna, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  19. Eriksson Å,Eriksson O andBerglund H (1995) Species abundance patterns of plants in Swedish seminatural pastures. Ecography 18: 310-317Google Scholar
  20. Fahrig L (1997) Relative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on population extinction. Journal of Wildlife Management 61: 603-610Google Scholar
  21. Forman RTT andGodron M (1986) Landscape Ecology. Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Friesen LE,Eagles PFJ andMackay RJ (1995) Effects of residential development on forest-dwelling neotropical migrant songbirds. Conservation Biology 9: 1408-1414Google Scholar
  23. Fuller RM (1987) The changing extent and conservation interest of lowland grasslands in England and Wales: a review of grassland surveys 1930-84. Biological Conservation 40: 281-300Google Scholar
  24. Fussell M andCorbet SA (1992) Flower usage by bumble-bees: a basis for forage plant management. Journal of Applied Ecology 29: 451-465Google Scholar
  25. Gibson CWD,Brown VK,Losito L andMcGavin GC (1992) The response of invertebrate assemblies to grazing. Ecography 15: 166-176Google Scholar
  26. Gustafsson B (1994) Catalogus Lepidopterum Sueciae. Swedish Musuem of Natural History and the Entomological Society, Stockholm, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  27. Hansson L (2000) Interactions by vascular plants and birds between isolated ancient oak-hazel woods and a matrix of conifer plantations. Biological Conservation 95: 191-196Google Scholar
  28. Hansson L,Fahrig L andMerriam G (1995) Mosaic Landscapes and Ecological Processes. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  29. Harrison S andBruna E (1999) Habitat fragmentation and large-scale conservation: what do we know for sure? Ecography 22: 225-232Google Scholar
  30. Huston MA (1994) Biological Diversity: The Coexistence of Species on Changing Landscapes. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  31. Jongman RHG,ter Braak CJF andvan Tongeren OFR (1995) Data Analysis in Community and Landscape Ecology. Pudoc, Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  32. Kindvall O (1995) The impact of extreme weather on habitat preference and survival in a metapopulation of the Bush Cricket Metrioptera bicolor in Sweden. Biological Conservation 73: 51-58Google Scholar
  33. Lambeck RJ (1997) Focal species: a multi-species umbrella for nature conservation. Conservation Biology 11: 849-856Google Scholar
  34. Landres PB,Verner J andThomas JW (1988) Ecological uses of vertebrate indicator species: a critique. Conservation Biology 2: 316-328Google Scholar
  35. Lid J (1985) Norsk, svensk, finsk flora. Det Norske Samlaget, Oslo, NorwayGoogle Scholar
  36. Løken A (1973) Studies on Scandinavian bumble bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea). Nordisk Entomologisk Tidskrift 20: 1-218Google Scholar
  37. Lundberg S (1995) Catalogus Coleopterum Sueciae. Naturhistoriska Riksmuséet and Entomologiska Föreningen, Stockholm, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  38. MacArthur RH (1957) Population ecology of some warblers of northeastern coniferous forests. Ecology 39: 599-619Google Scholar
  39. Marshall VG (1977) Effects of Manure and Fertilisers on Soil Fauna: A Review. Special Publication 3. Commonwealth Bureau of Soils, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. May R (1986) The search for patterns in the balance of nature: advances and retreats. Ecology 67: 1115-1126Google Scholar
  41. McGarigal K andMcComb WC (1995) Relationships between landscape structure and breeding birds in the Oregon coast range. Ecological Monographs 65: 235-260Google Scholar
  42. Norusis MJ (1994) SPSS. Advanced Statistics, Release 6.1. SPSS, Chicago, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  43. Noss RF (1990) Indicators for monitoring biodiversity: a hierarchical approach. Conservation Biology 4: 355-364Google Scholar
  44. Olff H andRitchie ME (1998) Effects of herbivores on grassland plant diversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13: 261-265Google Scholar
  45. Osborne JL,Clark SJ,Morris RJ,Williams IH,Riley JR,Smith AD,Reynolds DR andEdwards AS (1999) A landscape-scale study of bumble bee foraging range and constancy, using harmonic radar. Journal of Applied Ecology 36: 519-533Google Scholar
  46. Pain DJ andPienkowski MW (1997) Farming and Birds in Europe: The Common Agricultural Policy and Its Implications for Bird Conservation. Academic Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Palmer MW (1993) Putting things in even better order: the advantages of canonical correspondence analysis. Ecology 74: 2215-2230Google Scholar
  48. Påhlsson L (1998)Vegetationstyper i Norden. TemaNord 1998: 510. Nordiska Ministerrådet [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  49. Pärt T andSöderström B (1999a) The effects of management regimes and location in landscape on the conservation of farmland birds breeding in semi-natural pastures. Biological Conservation 90: 113-123Google Scholar
  50. Pärt T and Söderström B (1999b) Conservation value of semi-natural pastures in Sweden: contrasting botanical and avian measures. Conservation Biology 13: 755-765Google Scholar
  51. Pearson DL andCassola F (1992) World-wide species richness of tiger beetles (Coleoptera; Cicindelidae): indicator taxon for biodiversity and conservation studies. Conservation Biology 6: 376-391Google Scholar
  52. Prendergast JR,Quinn RM,Lawton JH,Eversham BC andGibbons DW (1993) Rare species, the coincidence of diversity hotspots and conservation strategies. Nature 365: 335-337Google Scholar
  53. Rambo JL andFaeth SH (1999) Effect of vertebrate grazing on plant and insect community structure. Conservation Biology 13: 1047-1054Google Scholar
  54. Robertson JGM andBerg Å (1992) Status and population changes of farmland birds in southern Sweden. Ornis Svecica 2: 119-130Google Scholar
  55. Rosenzweig ML (1995) Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  56. Roslin T (1999) Spatial ecology of dung beetles. PhD Thesis, Department of Ecology and Systematics, University of Helsinki, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  57. Sætersdal M, Line JM and Birks HJB (1993) How to maximize biological diversity in nature reserve selection: vascular plants and breeding birds in deciduous woodlands, western Norway. Biological Conservation 66: 131-138Google Scholar
  58. Siemann E (1998) Experimental tests of effects of plant productivity and diversity on grassland arthropod diversity. Ecology 79: 2057-2070Google Scholar
  59. Siepel H,Meijer J,Mabelis AA andDen Boer MH (1989) A tool to assess the influence of management practices on grassland surface macrofaunas. Journal of Applied Entomology 108: 271-290Google Scholar
  60. Silfverberg H (1992)Enumeratio Coleopterorum Fennoscandiae, Daniae et Baltiae. Helsinki, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  61. Skøvgaard OS (1936)Rødkløverens bestøvning, humlebier og humleboer. Kunglige Danske SelskapGoogle Scholar
  62. Söderström B andPärt T (2000) Influence of landscape scale on farmland birds in seminatural pastures. Conservation Biology 14: 522-533Google Scholar
  63. Söderström B,Pärt T andLinnarsson E (2001) Grazing effects on between-year variation of farmland bird communities. Ecological Applications 11 (in press)Google Scholar
  64. Statistics Sweden (1990) Acreage and utilization of pasture land in 1989. Statistical Reports. SCB, Örebro, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  65. Swedish Board of Agriculture (1996) Environmental Subsidies 1996. Biological Diversity and Cultural Values. Board of Agriculture, Jönköping, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  66. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (1987) Survey of meadows and pastures-handbook. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Solna, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  67. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (1997) Meadows and pastures in Sweden. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Stockholm, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  68. ter Braak CJF andSmilauer P (1998) CANOCO Reference Manual and User's Guide to Canoco for Windows: Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  69. Thomas CD andHarrisson S (1992) Spatial dynamics of a patchily distributed butterfly species. Journal of Animal Ecology 61: 437-446Google Scholar
  70. Uppsala County Board (1993) Meadows and Pastures in Uppsala County. Introduction. Länsstyrelsen, Uppsala, Sweden [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  71. Villard M-A,Trzcinski MK andMerriam G (1999) Fragmentation effects on forest birds: relative influence of woodland cover and configuration on landscape occupancy. Conservation Biology 13: 774-783Google Scholar
  72. Wettstein W andSchmid B (1999) Conservation of arthropod diversity in montane wetlands: effect of altitude, habitat quality and habitat fragmentation on butterflies and grasshoppers. Journal of Applied Ecology 36: 363-373Google Scholar
  73. Wiktelius S (1998)Dynglevande skalbaggar (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) i skyddsvärda naturbetesmarker-en inventering. Entomologisk Tidskrift 119: 111-116 [in Swedish]Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Söderström
    • 1
  • Birgitta Svensson
    • 2
  • Karolina Vessby
    • 3
  • Anders Glimskär
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Conservation BiologySLUUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and Crop Production ScienceSLUUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of EntomologySLUUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations