Effects of agri-environment schemes on plant diversity in Bavarian grasslands

Abstract

Grasslands play an important role in terms of biodiversity, landscape and agriculture. For 25 years, the Bavarian agri-environment scheme (AES) “Agricultural landscape program” (KULAP) has been funding management practices which are intended to conserve cultural landscapes and enhance biodiversity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the Bavarian AES schemes in terms of plant diversity. As AES is divided into many different, clearly divergent schemes, each of these schemes was evaluated separately. The evaluation focussed not only on species richness but also on other diversity parameters such as the presence of rare and common species, the percentage of species group members and the evenness as well as agronomic values such as forage value, percentage of agronomically desirable species or percentage of weeds. In order to achieve this goal, we selected about 950 pairs of grassland plots with and without AES. Differences in species richness between AES and control plots were most significant in the site related AES schemes and organic farming, whereas plots with other farm related AES schemes hardly differed from their controls. Obviously, schemes which really demand management changes on the part of the farmer have a definite effect on plant species diversity in grasslands compared to those which closely resemble conventional management.

Abbreviations

AES:

Agri-Environment Scheme

BGS:

Bavarian Grassland Monitoring

CNP:

Contract Nature Protection Scheme

FGM:

Frequency according to German grid maps

KULAP:

Agricultural Landscape Program (“Kulturlandschaftsprogramm”)

NLU:

Natural Landscape Unit.

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Correspondence to G. Kuhn.

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Mayer, F., Heinz, S. & Kuhn, G. Effects of agri-environment schemes on plant diversity in Bavarian grasslands. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 9, 229–236 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.9.2008.2.12

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Keywords

  • Agricultural grassland
  • Management intensity
  • Monitoring
  • Plant species diversity
  • Species frequency
  • Survey

Nomenclature

  • Wisskirchen and Haeupler (1998)