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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Species richness in agroecosystems: the effect of landscape, habitat and farm management

Weibull AC, Ostman O, Granqvist A


It has been suggested that biodiversity in agroecosystems depends on both landscape heterogeneity and farm management, but at the same time, studies of biodiversity in relation to both landscape variables and farm management are rare. We investigated the species richness of plants, butterflies, carabids, rove beetles and the diversity of spiders in cereal fields, leys (grass and clover crop) and semi-natural pastures at 16 farms in Central East Sweden. The farms were divided into eight pairs of one conventional and one organic farm to enable us to separate the effects of landscape and farm management on biodiversity. The pairing was based on land use, location, and landscape features. Species richness of different taxonomic groups was generally not correlated. There were no differences in species richness between the farming systems, except for carabids that had higher numbers of species on conventional farms. The species richness generally increased with landscape heterogeneity on a farm scale. Habitat type had a major effect on the species richness for most groups, with most species found in pastures and leys. The correlations between species richness and landscape variables on a farm scale, and not on a scale of multiple farms, identify farmers as the important decision-maker in conservation issues for these taxonomic groups. We discuss the role of species richness of pests' natural enemies for biological control and conservation strategies of the more common species in the agricultural landscape

Published in

Biodiversity and Conservation
2003, volume: 12, number: 7, pages: 1335-1355

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology and Crop Production Sciences
Granqvist, Å
Weibull, A-C
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology and Crop Production Sciences

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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