Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Distance functions of carabids in crop fields depend on functional traits, crop type and adjacent habitat: a synthesis

Boetzl, Fabian A.; Sponsler, Douglas; Albrecht, Matthias; Batary, Peter; Birkhofer, Klaus; Knapp, Michal; Krauss, Jochen; Maas, Bea; Martin, Emily A.; Sirami, Clelia; Sutter, Louis; Bertrand, Colette; Baillod, Aliette Bosem; Bota, Gerard; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Brotons, Lluis; Frank, Thomas; Fusser, Moritz; Giralt, David; Gonzalez, Ezequiel; Hof, Anouschka R.; Luka, Henryk; Marrec, Ronan; Nash, Michael A.; Ng, Katherina; Plantegenest, Manuel; Poulin, Brigitte; Siriwardena, Gavin M.; Tscharntke, Teja; Tschumi, Matthias; Vialatte, Aude; Van Vooren, Laura; Zubair-Anjum, Muhammad; Entling, Martin H.; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Schirmel, Jens
Show less authors


Natural pest and weed regulation are essential for agricultural production, but the spatial distribution of natural enemies within crop fields and its drivers are mostly unknown. Using 28 datasets comprising 1204 study sites across eight Western and Central European countries, we performed a quantitative synthesis of carabid richness, activity densities and functional traits in relation to field edges (i.e. distance functions). We show that distance functions of carabids strongly depend on carabid functional traits, crop type and, to a lesser extent, adjacent non-crop habitats. Richness of both carnivores and granivores, and activity densities of small and granivorous species decreased towards field interiors, whereas the densities of large species increased. We found strong distance decays in maize and vegetables whereas richness and densities remained more stable in cereals, oilseed crops and legumes. We conclude that carabid assemblages in agricultural landscapes are driven by the complex interplay of crop types, adjacent non-crop habitats and further landscape parameters with great potential for targeted agroecological management. In particular, our synthesis indicates that a higher edge-interior ratio can counter the distance decay of carabid richness per field and thus likely benefits natural pest and weed regulation, hence contributing to agricultural sustainability.


distance decay; ecosystem services; ground beetles; natural pest and weed control; species spillover; sustainable agriculture

Published in

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
2024, Volume: 291, number: 2014, article number: 20232383
Publisher: ROYAL SOC

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)