Functional beetle diversity in managed grasslands: effects of region, landscape context and land use intensity


Current biodiversity conservation policies have so far had limited success because they are mainly targeted to the scale of individual fields with little concern on different responses of organism groups at larger spatial scales. We investigated the relative impacts of multi-scale factors, including local land use intensity, landscape context and region, on functional groups of beetles (Coleoptera). In 2008, beetles were suction-sampled from 95 managed grasslands in three regions, ranging from Southern to Northern Germany. The results showed that region was the most important factor affecting the abundance of herbivores and the abundance and species composition of predators and decomposers. Herbivores were not affected by landscape context and land use intensity. The species composition of the predator communities changed with land use intensity, but only in interaction with landscape context. Interestingly, decomposer abundance was negatively related to land use intensity in low-diversity landscapes, whereas in high-diversity landscapes the relation was positive, possibly due to enhanced spillover effects in complex landscapes. We conclude that (i) management at multiple scales, from local sites to landscapes and regions, is essential for managing biodiversity, (ii) beetle predators and decomposers are more affected than herbivores, supporting the hypothesis that higher trophic levels are more sensitive to environmental change, and (iii) sustaining biological control and decomposition services in managed grassland needs a diverse landscape, while effects of local land use intensity may depend on landscape context.

DOI: 10.1007/s10980-014-9987-0

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@article{Liu2014FunctionalBD, title={Functional beetle diversity in managed grasslands: effects of region, landscape context and land use intensity}, author={Yunhui Liu and Christoph Rothenw{\"{o}hrer and Christoph Scherber and P{\'e}ter Bat{\'a}ry and Zolt{\'a}n Elek and Juliane Steckel and Stefan Erasmi and Teja Tscharntke and Catrin Westphal}, journal={Landscape Ecology}, year={2014}, volume={29}, pages={529-540} }