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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Riparian Vegetation Structure Influences Terrestrial Invertebrate Communities in an Agricultural Landscape

Popescu, Cristina; Oprina-Pavelescu, Mihaela; Dinu, Valentin; Cazacu, Constantin; Burdon, Francis J.; Forio, Marie Anne Eurie; Kupilas, Benjamin; Friberg, Nikolai; Goethals, Peter; McKie, Brendan G.; Risnoveanu, Geta


Stream and terrestrial ecosystems are intimately connected by riparian zones that support high biodiversity but are also vulnerable to human impacts. Landscape disturbances, overgrazing, and diffuse pollution of agrochemicals threaten riparian biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. We assessed how terrestrial invertebrate communities respond to changes in riparian vegetation in Romanian agricultural catchments, with a focus on the role of forested riparian buffers. Riparian invertebrates were sampled in 10 paired sites, with each pair consisting of an unbuffered upstream reach and a downstream reach buffered with woody riparian vegetation. Our results revealed distinct invertebrate community structures in the two site types. Out of 33 invertebrate families, 13 were unique to either forested (6) or unbuffered (7) sites. Thomisidae, Clubionidae, Tetragnathidae, Curculionidae, Culicidae, and Cicadidae were associated with forested buffers, while Lycosidae, Chrysomelidae, Staphylinidae, Coccinellidae, Tettigoniidae, Formicidae, and Eutichuridae were more abundant in unbuffered sites. Despite statistically equivocal results, invertebrate diversity was generally higher in forested riparian buffers. Local riparian attributes significantly influenced patterns in invertebrate community composition. Our findings highlight the importance of local woody riparian buffers in maintaining terrestrial invertebrate diversity and their potential contribution as a multifunctional management tool in agricultural landscapes.


biodiversity; riparian buffer; land-use; spatial scales; nature-based solutions; agricultural management

Published in

2021, volume: 13, number: 2, article number: 188
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Popescu, Cristina
University of Bucharest
Oprina-Pavelescu, Mihaela
University of Bucharest
Dinu, Valentin
University of Bucharest
Cazacu, Constantin
University of Bucharest
Burdon, Francis
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Forio, Marie Anne Eurie
Ghent University
Kupilas, Benjamin
Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)
Friberg, Nikolai
University of Copenhagen
Goethals, Peter
Ghent University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Risnoveanu, Geta
University of Bucharest

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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