Resource-mediated indirect effects of grassland management on arthropod diversity

Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, 
Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the combined effects of different drivers and the chain of effects are largely unknown. In this study we used structural equation modelling to analyse how the arthropod communities in managed grasslands respond to land use and whether these responses are mediated through changes in resource diversity or resource quantity (biomass). Plants were considered resources for herbivores which themselves were considered resources for predators. Plant and arthropod (herbivores and predators) communities were sampled on 141 meadows, pastures and mown pastures within three regions in Germany in 2008 and 2009. Increasing land-use intensity generally increased plant biomass and decreased plant diversity, mainly through increasing fertilization. Herbivore diversity decreased together with plant diversity but showed no response to changes in plant biomass. Hence, land-use effects on herbivore diversity were mediated through resource diversity rather than quantity. Land-use effects on predator diversity were mediated by both herbivore diversity (resource diversity) and herbivore quantity (herbivore biomass), but indirect effects through resource quantity were stronger. Our findings highlight the importance of assessing both direct and indirect effects of land-use intensity and mode on different trophic levels. In addition to the overall effects, there were subtle differences between the different regions, pointing to the importance of regional land-use specificities. Our study underlines the commonly observed strong effect of grassland land use on biodiversity. It also highlights that mechanistic approaches help us to understand how different land-use modes affect biodiversity.
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Author:Nadja K. Simons, Martin M. Gossner, Thomas M. Lewinsohn, Steffen Boch, Markus Lange, Jörg Müller, Esther Pašalić, Stephanie A. Socher, Manfred Türke, Markus Fischer, Wolfgang W. Weisser
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:3-344887
DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0107033
ISSN:1932-6203
Parent Title (English):PLoS One
Publisher:PLoS
Place of publication:Lawrence, Kan.
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2014/09/04
Date of first Publication:2014/09/04
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/10/18
Volume:9
Issue:(9):e107033
Pagenumber:12
Note:
Copyright: © 2014 Simons et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
HeBIS PPN:366207903
Institutes:Biowissenschaften
Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Universitätspublikationen
Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0

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