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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Linear infrastructure habitats increase landscape-scale diversity of plants but not of flower-visiting insects

Dániel Ferreira, Juliana; Bommarco, Riccardo; Wissman, Jörgen; Öckinger, Erik

Abstract

Habitats along linear infrastructure, such as roads and electrical transmission lines, can have high local biodiversity. To determine whether these habitats also contribute to landscape-scale biodiversity, we estimated species richness, evenness and phylogenetic diversity of plant, butterfy and bumblebee communities in 32 km2 landscapes with or without power line corridors, and with contrasting areas of road verges. Landscapes with power line corridors had on average six more plant species than landscapes without power lines, but there was no such efect for butterfies and bumblebees. Plant communities displayed considerable evenness in species abundances both in landscapes with and without power lines and high and low road verge densities. We hypothesize that the higher number of plant species in landscapes with power line corridors is due to these landscapes having a higher extinction debt than the landscapes without power line corridors, such that plant diversity is declining slower in landscapes with power lines. This calls for targeted conservation actions in semi-natural grasslands within landscapes with power line corridors to maintain biodiversity and prevent imminent population extinctions.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2020, Volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 21374