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Local conditions in small habitats and surrounding landscape are important for pollination services, biological pest control and seed predation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7219-4359
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
2018 (English)In: Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, ISSN 0167-8809, E-ISSN 1873-2305, Vol. 251, 107-113 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Small semi-natural and natural habitats in agricultural landscapes are important for biodiversity. With modern and more intensive agricultural practices they have become smaller (less than 1600 m2) and more isolated study which also affects ecosystem functions. Most ecosystem function studies using field experiments focus on a single function. Here, we investigate three functions in the same landscape at the same time. We investigated how local (trees, shrubs and grass-cover in small remnant habitats) and landscape factors (amount of and distance from key habitats i.e. forest and semi-natural grasslands) affect pollination, biological pest control and seed predation. We applied a multifunctional approach using different organisms to analyze pollination success (Primula veris), predation on aphid pests (Rhopalosiphum padi) and seed predation (of Helianthus annuus). A set-up of 3 different experiments were placed in situ on 12 midfield islets. Pollination was more affected by local factors than landscape factors, although pollination success was improved by a smaller proportions of surrounding crop fields. Seed predation was higher on islets with more surrounding forest and also with more trees on the habitat, especially close to shrubs, compared to more open areas of habitat. Predation on aphids decreased on midfield islets with a larger amount of nearby forest but was positively affected by increasing local tree cover on the habitat.

We show that managing semi-open habitats that are connected to other natural or semi-natural habitats can improve pollination success and biological pest and weed control, thus potentially increasing yield in surrounding crop fields.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 251, 107-113 p.
Keyword [en]
biological pest control, ecosystem function, midfield islets, pollination, seed predation, small habitats
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148632DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2017.09.025ISI: 000414880300011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-148632DiVA: diva2:1154522
Available from: 2017-11-02 Created: 2017-11-02 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Small remnant habitats: Important structures in fragmented landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Small remnant habitats: Important structures in fragmented landscapes
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The world-wide intensification of agriculture has led to a decline in species richness due to land use change, isolation, and fragmentation of natural and semi-natural habitats in agricultural and forestry landscapes. As a consequence, there is a current landscape management focus on the importance of green infrastructure to mitigate biodiversity decline and preserve ecosystem functions e.g. pollination services and pest control. Even though intensification in agriculture has been ongoing for several hundreds of years, remnant habitats from earlier management practices may still be remaining with a surprisingly high plant richness. Preserving these habitats could help conserving plant species richness in agricultural landscapes, as well as other organisms that are dependent on plants for food and shelter.

In this thesis I focus on two small remnant habitats; midfield islets and borders between managed forest and crop field in southeastern Sweden. In the past, both habitats were included in the grazing system and therefore often still have remnant population of grassland specialist species left today. I have used these two remnant habitats as model habitats to investigate the effect of landscape factors and local factors on species richness of plants, flower morphologies and plants with fleshy fruits. Additively, I analysed the effect of surrounding landscape and local openness on the functions; pollination success, biological pest control of aphids and seed predation on midfield islets.

One of my studies showed that spatial distribution and size of the habitat affected plant species richness. Larger habitat size and higher connectivity between habitats increased species richness of plants in the habitats. Openness of the habitats was shown to be an important factor to increase species richness and richness of flower morphologies, both on midfield islets and in forest borders. Even though midfield islets had the highest species and morphology richness, both habitat types are needed for habitat complementary as forest borders have more plants with fleshy fruits and a higher richness of plant species that flowers in spring/early summer. It was also shown that a more complex forest border, not just with gaps in the canopy, but also with high variation in tree stem sizes increases plant species richness in the field layer. The conclusion is that by managing small remnant habitats to remain or become more semi-open and complex in their structure, would increase species richness of plants, grassland specialist species, and flower morphologies. It would also increase some ecosystem functions as seed predation and biologic pest control of aphids are more effective close to trees. If both midfield islets and forest borders would be managed to be semi-open, the area and connectivity of semi-open habitat would increase in the agricultural landscape, which may also improve pollination success as the connectivity between populations has a possibility to increase. Grassland specialist species are clearly abundant in the small remnant habitats. As the decline of semi-natural grasslands is causing a decline in grassland specialists’ species, not only plants, I recommend that small remnant habitats are included in conservation and management plans and strategies to improve habitat availability and connectivity for grassland species in agricultural landscapes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 2017
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 70
Keyword
Alpha-diversity, Beta-diversity, Biological pest control, Canopy cover, Connectivity, Ecosystem function, Fleshy fruits, Forest edge, Forest management, Forest specialist species, Fragmentation, Functional diversity, Gamma-diversity, Grassland specialist species, Green infrastructure, Habitat amount hypothesis, Island biogeography, Midfield islets, Plant diversity, Plant-pollinator interaction, Pollination, Remnant habitat, Seed predation, Small habitats, Species richness, Structural heterogeneity
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use Physical Geography
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-148653 (URN)978-91-7797-057-6 (ISBN)978-91-7797-058-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-12-20, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Research funder Ekoklim. Project:4339602.

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-11-27 Created: 2017-11-03 Last updated: 2017-11-22Bibliographically approved

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