Advertisement

Community Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 79–87 | Cite as

Abandonment of crop lands leads to different recovery patterns for ant and plant communities in Eastern Europe

  • E. NémetEmail author
  • E. Ruprecht
  • R. Gallé
  • B. Markó
Article

Abstract

Significant proportion of crop lands have been abandoned as management strategies have changed in Central and Eastern Europe in the past decades. The study of insect versus plant communities in such areas could help us understand how these processes take place, and whether these communities return to a semi-natural state maintained by human activities. Amongst insects ants, as ecosystem engineers, are a perfect target group in this respect. We studied epigaeic ant and plant communities of abandoned old-fields in Romania. Contrary to our expectations, the total number of ant species did not increase with time during succession on old-fields contrary to plants, where an increase was registered in the total number. Disturbancetolerant ant species dominated the ant communities throughout the successional gradient, while in the case of plants a transition was found from weed-dominated to semi-natural communities. The diversity of both ant and plant communities increased after the 1-year stage, but the patterns were different. While a return to semi-natural state could be observed in plants during old-field succession, such a definite change did not occur in ants. This might be caused by the landscape context: the lack of connectivity of old-fields to larger natural areas. While plant propagules of semi-natural and natural habitat species can still successfully colonize the old fields even under such conditions, ant colonizers are mainly disturbance-tolerant species typical for agricultural areas, which can be hardly replaced by typical grassland species. Our findings underline the existence of important discrepancies between plant and ant community succession, mostly treated as paralleling each other. This is the first study to handle the effect of abandonment on ant and plant communities simultaneously in Eastern Europe.

Keywords

Conservation policies Disturbance Diversity Insects Land use strategies Restoration Succession Traditional management Vegetation structure 

Nomenclature

Seifert (2007) for ants Tutin et al. (1964–1980) for vascular plants 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Supplementary material

42974_2016_1701079_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (320 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 328 KB.

References

  1. Agosti, D., J.D. Majer, L.E. Alonso and T.R. Schultz. 2000. Ants: Standard Methods for Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., USA.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, N.A. 1997. Functional groups and patterns of organization in North American ant communities: a comparison with Australia. J. Biogeogr. 24: 433–460.Google Scholar
  3. Batáry, P., A. Báldi, M. Sárospataki, F. Kohler, J. Verhulst, E. Knop, F. Herzog and D. Kleijn. 2010. Effect of conservation management on bees and insect-pollinated grassland plant communities in three European countries. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 136: 35–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baur, B., C. Cremene, G. Groza, L. Rákosy, A.A. Schileyko, A. Baur and A. Erhardt. 2006. Effects of abandonment of subalpine hay meadows on plant and invertebrate diversity in Transylvania, Romania. Biol. Conserv. 132: 261–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernadou, A., R. Céréghino, H. Barcet, M. Combe, X. Espadaler and V. Fourcassié. 2013. Physical and land-cover variables influence ant functional groups and species diversity along elevational gradients. Landscape Ecol. 28: 1387–1400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ciaian, P. and J. Pokrivcak. 2007. Agriculture reforms and development in East-Central Europe, 117–132. In: Sergi, B.S., Bagatelas, W.T. and Kubicova, J. (eds): Industries and Markets in Central and Eastern Europe. Ashgate Publ., Aldershot, Burlington, UK.Google Scholar
  7. Csergő, A.M., L. Demeter and R. Turkington. 2013. Declining diversity in abandoned grasslands of the Carpathian Mountains: Do dominant species matter? PLoS ONE 8(8): e73533.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Czechowski, W., A. Radchenko, W. Czechowska and K. Vepsäläinen. 2012. The Ants of Poland with Reference to the Myrmecofauna of Europe. Fauna Poloniae, Vol. 4. Natura Optima Dux Foundation, Warsaw.Google Scholar
  9. Czekes, Zs., B. Markó, D.R. Nash, M. Ferencz, B. Lázár and L. Rákosy. 2014. Differences in oviposition strategies between two ecotypes of the endangered myrmecophilous butterfly Maculinea alcon (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) under unique syntopic conditions. Insect Conserv. Divers. 7: 122–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Czekes, Zs., A.G. Radchenko, S. Csősz, A.M. Szász-Len, I. Tăuşan, K. Kiss and B. Markó. 2012. The genus Myrmica Latreille, 1804 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Romania: distribution of species and key for their identification. Entomologica Romanica 17: 29–50.Google Scholar
  11. Dauber, J. and V. Wolters. 2005. Colonization temperate grassland by ants. Basic Appl. Ecol. 6: 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dorresteijn, I., J. Hanspach, A. Kecskés, H. Latková, Zs. Mezey, Sz. Sugár, H. von Wehrden and J. Fischer. 2014. Human-carnivore coexistence in a traditional rural landscape. Landscape Ecol. 29: 1145–1155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Englisch, T., F.M. Steiner and B.C. Schlick-Steiner. 2005. Fine-scale grassland assamblage analysis in Central Europe: ants tell another story than plants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae; Spermatophyta). Myrmecol. Nachr. 7: 61–67.Google Scholar
  14. Fischer, J., T. Hartel and T. Kuemmerle. 2012. Conservation policy in traditional farming landscapes. Conserv. Lett. 5: 167–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Folgarait, P.J. 1998. And biodiversity and its relationship to ecosystem functioning: a review. Biodivers. Conserv. 7: 1221–1244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gallé, L., L. Körmöczi, E. Hornung and J. Kerekes. 1998. Structure of ant assamblages in a Middle-European sucessional sand-dune area. Tiscia 31: 19–28.Google Scholar
  17. Gallé, R. and A. Torma. 2009. Epigeic spider (Araneae) assemblages of natural forest edges in the Kiskunság (Hungary). Community Ecol. 10: 146–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goslee, S.C. and D.L. Urban. 2007. The ecodist package for dissimilarity-based analysis of ecological data. J. Stat. Softw. 22: 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hartel, T., I. Dorresteijn, C. Klein, O. Máthé, C.I. Moga, K. Öllerer, and J. Fischer. 2013. Wood-pastures in a traditional rural region of Eastern Europe: Characteristics, management and status. Biol. Conserv. 166: 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hartel, T., T. Sos, V.D. Popescu, R.I. Băncilă, D. Cogălniceanu and L. Rozylowicz. 2014. Amphibian conservation in traditional cultural landscapes : the case of Central Romania. North-West. J. Zool. 10: 51–61.Google Scholar
  21. Holec, M. and J. Frouz. 2005. Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities is reclaimed and unreclaimed brown coal mining spoil dumps in Czech Republic. Pedobiologia 49: 345–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hölldobler, B. and E.O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. pp.1–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jongepierová, J., J.W. Jongepier and L. Klimeš. 2004. Restoring grassland on arable land: an example of a fast spontaneous succession without weed-dominated stages. Preslia 76: 361–369.Google Scholar
  24. Kun, A., E. Ruprecht, S. Bartha, A. Szabó and K. Virágh. 2007. Az Erdélyi Mezőség kincse: a gyepvegetáció egyedülálló gazdagsága (Unique diversity of grassland in the Transylvanian Lowland). Kitaibelia 12: 88–96.Google Scholar
  25. Magura, T., D. Bogyó, S. Mizser, D.D. Nagy and B. Tóthmérész. 2015. Recovery of ground-dwelling assemblages during reforestation with native oak depends on the mobility and feeding habits of the species. Forest Ecol. Manag. 339: 117–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Majer, J.D. 1996. Ant recolonization of rehabilitated bauxite mines at Trombates, Para Brazil. J. Trop. Ecol. 12: 257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Markó, B., B. Sipos, S. Csősz, K. Kiss, I. Boros and L. Gallé. 2006. A comprehensive list of the ants of Romania (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecol. Nachr. 9: 65–76.Google Scholar
  28. Matus, G., R. Verhagen, R.M. Bekker and A.P. Grootjans. 2003. Restoration of the Cirsio dissecti-Molinietum in The Netherlands: can we rely on soil seed banks? Appl. Veg. Sci. 6: 73–84.Google Scholar
  29. Mills, L.S., M.E. Soulé and D.F. Doak. 1993. The keystone-species concept in ecology and conservation. BioSci. 43: 219–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moga, C.I., T. Hartel and K. Öllerer. 2010. Status, microhabitat use and distribution of the corncrake Crex crex in a Southern Transylvanian rural landscape, Romania. North-West. J. Zool. 6: 63–70.Google Scholar
  31. Molnár, Zs. and Z. Botta-Dukát. 1998. Improved space-for-time substitution for hypothesis generation: secondary grasslands with documented site history in SE-Hungary. Phytocoenologia 28: 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oksanen, J., F. Guillaume Blanchet, R. Kindt, P. Legendre, P.R. Minchin, R.B. O’Hara, G.L. Simpson, P. Solymos, M. Henry, M.H. Stevens, H. Wagner and M.J. Oksanen. 2013. Package ‘vegan’. R. Package ver. 254: 20–8.Google Scholar
  33. Ottonetti, L., L. Tucci and G. Santini. 2006. Recolonization patterns of ant in a rehabilitated lignite mine in Central Italy: Potential for use of Mediterranean ants as indicators of restoration processes. Restor. Ecol. 14: 60–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Plieninger, T., T. Hartel, B. Martín-López, G. Beaufoy, E. Bergmeier, K. Kirby, M.J. Montero, G. Moreno, E. Oteros-Rozas and J. Van Uytvanck. 2015. Wood-pastures of Europe: Geographic coverage, social-ecological values, conservation management, and policy implications. Biol. Conserv. 190: 70–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pohlert, T. (2014). The Pairwise Multiple Comparison of Mean Ranks Package (PMCMR). R package. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=PMCMR.
  36. Prach, K. and P. Pyšek. 2001. Using spontaneous succession for restoration of human-disturbed habitats: Experience from Central Europe. Ecol. Eng. 17: 55–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. R Core Team. 2013. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org/.
  38. Rosenthal, G. 2010. Secondary succession in a fallow central European wet grassland. Flora 205: 153–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ruprecht, E. 2005. Secondary succession in old-fields in the Transylvanian Lowlands (Romania). Preslia 77: 145–157.Google Scholar
  40. Ruprecht, E. 2006. Successfully recovered grassland: a promising example from Romanian old-fields. Restor. Ecol. 14: 473–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ruprecht, E., K. Lukács, P. Domokos, A. Fenesi. 2015. Hydration status influences seed fire tolerance in temperate European herbaceous species. Plant Biol. doi:10.1111/plb. 12394.Google Scholar
  42. Sanda, V., A. Popescu, M.I. Doltu and N. Doniţă. 1983. Caracterizarea ecologică şi fitocenologică a speciilor spontane din flora României. Studii şi Comunicări 25: 5–126.Google Scholar
  43. Santos, S.A., J.E. Cabanas and J.A. Pereira. 2007. Abundance and diversity of soil arthropods in olive grove ecosystem (Portugal): Effect of pitfall trap type. Eur. J. Soil Biol. 43: 77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Seifert, B. 2007. Die Ameisen Mittel- und Nordeuropas. Lutra Verlags- und Vertriebsgesellschaft, Tauer.Google Scholar
  45. Sutcliffe, L.M.E., P. Batáry, T. Becker, K.M. Orci and C. Leuschner 2014. Both local and landscape factors determine plant and Orthoptera diversity in the semi-natural grasslands of Transylvania, Romania. Biodivers. Cons. 24: 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stampfli, A., and M. Zeiter. 1999. Plant species decline due to abandonment of meadows cannot easily be reversed by mowing. A case study from the southern Alps. J. Veg. Sci. 10: 151–164.Google Scholar
  47. Tryjanowski, P., T. Hartel, A. Báldi, P. Szymański, M. Tobolka, I. Herzon, A. Goławski, M. Konvička, M. Hromada, L. Jerzak K. Kujawa, M. Lenda, G. Orłowski, M. Panek, P. Skórka, T.H. Sparks, S. Tworek, A Wuczyński and M. Żmihorski. 2011. Conservation of farmland birds faces different challenges in Western and Central-Eastern Europe. Acta Ornithol. 46: 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tutin, T.G., V.H. Heywood, N.A. Burges, D.M. Moore, D.H. Valentine, S.M. Walters and D.A. Webb. 1964-1980. Flora Europaea, vols. 1–5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  49. Underwood, E.C and B.L. Fisher. 2006. The role of ants in conservation monitoring: If, when, and how. Biol. Conserv. 132: 166–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wiezik, M., A. Wieziková and M. Svitok. 2010. Effects of secondary succession in abandoned grassland on the activity of ground-foraging ant assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Soc. Zol. Bohem. 74: 153–160.Google Scholar
  51. Wilson, J.B., R.K. Peet, J. Dengler and M. Pärtel. 2012. Plant species richness: the world records. J. Veg. Sci. 23: 796–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2016

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hungarian Department of Biology and EcologyBabeș-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania
  2. 2.Department of EcologyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary

Personalised recommendations