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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Legacy of landscape crop diversity enhances carabid beetle species richness and promotes granivores

Raderschall, Chloe A.; Lundin, Ola; Aguilera, Guillermo; Lindstrom, Sandra A. M.; Bommarco, Riccardo


It is well understood that agricultural expansion and associated loss of semi-natural habitat in the landscape are major drivers for the marked decline in biodiversity. While conserving remaining semi-natural habitat patches is essential to reverse ongoing biodiversity declines, increasing focus has also been put on diversifying cropland itself by increasing landscape crop diversity as a measure of compositional heterogeneity, and reducing field sizes as a measure of configurational heterogeneity. Both these cropland diversification approaches have shown promise to enhance biodiversity in the year of sampling, but it is unknown whether legacies of crop diversity in the landscape promote biodiversity by building up arthropod communities over time. We selected 14 faba bean fields in landscapes dominated by cropland. The fields were chosen along three gradients: landscape crop di-versity of the year of sampling (2017), landscape crop diversity of the previous year (2016) and mean field size in landscapes. Using pitfall traps, we show that the carabid beetle species richness is higher in landscapes with higher crop diversity in the previous year. Especially, granivorous carabid beetles benefitted from legacies of crop diversity. Rove beetles were more abundant and genus rich in landscapes with larger field sizes, while spiders were not responding to any of the landscape variables. A diversity of crops in the landscape and their associated weed communities could provide more diverse food resources and shelter habitats, which build populations of carabid beetle species over time. There is a need to explore the effects of agri-environmental schemes across multiple years to better understand legacy effects, and to structure sustainable agricultural landscapes.


Landscape composition; Landscape configuration; Spiders; Staphylinids; Ground beetles; Sustainable agriculture; Carry-over effects; Functional traits

Published in

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
2022, Volume: 340, article number: 108191
Publisher: ELSEVIER