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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2008

The influence of grazing intensity and landscape composition on the diversity and abundance of flower-visiting insects

Sjodin, N. Erik; Bengtsson, Jan; Ekbom, Barbara


1. The loss of semi-natural grasslands in agro-ecosystems has increased the importance of adequate management of remaining grasslands. Recommendations for intensive grazing have been debated because the effects of different management practices may differ between taxa and species. The increased fragmentation of grasslands suggests that the influence of management practices should be studied in a landscape context.2. We studied four groups of flower visitors, many of which are pollinators, bees (Apoidea), butterflies (Lepidoptera), hoverflies (Syrphidae) and beetles (Coleoptera), in semi-natural grasslands managed at three intensity levels in eight areas in central Sweden. Local characteristics of the grasslands were recorded and landscape diversity was quantified. Vegetation height was correlated with grazing intensity: intensive grazing with the shortest vegetation and abandoned grassland with the tallest.3. The insect groups responded differently to grazing intensity. Species richness and abundance differed between management regimes for beetles and hoverflies but not for bees and butterflies.4. The effects of local habitat and landscape composition on species richness, abundance and composition differed between groups. Bee diversity responded to both local and landscape factors. Butterflies were mainly affected by local vegetation height and linear elements in the landscape. More species of hoverflies were recorded in tall vegetation and in landscapes with high forest cover. Beetles responded only to local environment characteristics.5. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate the importance of studying different insect groups simultaneously when evaluating habitat and landscape qualities for diversity. The results suggest that planning for conservation of biodiversity at landscape scales may be better than implementing grazing guidelines for individual grasslands. Grazing intensity should vary within or between landscapes to preserve pollinator diversity. Conservation management to encourage flower visitors cannot be generalized to include all groups simultaneously.


abundance; composition; diversity; grassland; management; semi-natural; species richness

Publicerad i

Journal of Applied Ecology
2008, Volym: 45, nummer: 3, sidor: 763-772

      SLU författare

      • Globala målen

        SDG15 Life on land

        UKÄ forskningsämne

        Agricultural Science
        Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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