Do arthropod assemblages display globally consistent responses to intensified agricultural land use and management?

Attwood, S. J. and Maron, M. and House, A. P. N. and Zammit, C. (2008) Do arthropod assemblages display globally consistent responses to intensified agricultural land use and management? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 17 (5). pp. 585-599. ISSN 1466-822X


To determine whether arthropod richness and abundance for combined taxa, feeding guilds and broad taxonomic groups respond in a globally consistent manner to a range of agricultural land-use and management intensification scenarios.
Mixed land-use agricultural landscapes, globally.
We performed a series of meta-analyses using arthropod richness and abundance data derived from the published literature. Richness and abundance were compared among land uses that commonly occur in agricultural landscapes and that
represent a gradient of increasing intensification. These included land-use comparisons, such as wooded native vegetation compared with improved pasture, and a management
comparison, reduced-input cropping compared with conventional cropping. Data were analysed using three different meta-analytical techniques, including a simple
vote counting method and a formal fixed-effects/random-effects meta-analysis.
Arthropod richness was significantly higher in areas of less intensive land use. The decline in arthropod richness was greater between native vegetation and agricultural
land uses than among different agricultural land uses. These patterns were evident for all taxa combined, predators and decomposers, but not herbivorous taxa.
Overall, arthropod abundance was greater in native vegetation than in agricultural lands and under reduced-input cropping compared with conventional cropping. Again, this trend was largely mirrored by predators and decomposers, but not herbivores.
Main conclusions
The greater arthropod richness found in native vegetation
relative to agricultural land types indicates that in production landscapes still containing considerable native vegetation, retention of that vegetation may well be the most effective method of conserving arthropod biodiversity. Conversely, in highly intensified agricultural landscapes with little remaining native vegetation, the employment of reduced-input crop management and the provision of relatively low intensity agricultural land uses, such as pasture, may prove effective in maintaining arthropod diversity, and potentially in promoting functionally important groups such as predators and decomposers.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2008 The Authors
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2012 07:05
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:04
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural intensification; agro-ecology; arthropods; biodiversity; feeding guilds; intensification gradient; land-use change; meta-analysis
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function
06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology(excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2008.00399.x

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