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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Direct and indirect effects of landscape and field management intensity on carabids through trophic resources and weeds

Carbonne, Benjamin; Bohan, David A.; Foffova, Hana; Daouti, Eirini; Frei, Britta; Neidel, Veronika; Saska, Pavel; Petit, Sandrine


Carabids are important biological control agents of weeds and other pests in agricultural fields. The carabid community is built upon direct and indirect ecological effects of landscape complexity, field management intensity and biotic components that in interaction make any prediction of community size and composition challenging. We analyse a large-scale sample of 60 European cereal fields using structural equation modelling to quantify the direct effects of field management intensity and the surrounding landscape, and their indirect effect via biotic components, on carabid diversity. Our results highlight that direct and indirect effects of increasing landscape complexity, mediated by trophic resources, mainly affect carabids positively. Field management intensity only ever affects carabids through indirect effects that are generally negative, by suppressing standing weeds and weed seeds. Indirect effects on granivore carabid species depended on weed seed availability, whereas omnivores depended on the availability of both weed seeds and animal prey. Synthesis and applications. A consideration of both the direct and indirect effects of landscape and field management is necessary for predicting carabid communities. These indirect effects, mediated via trophic resources, supports the diversity and abundance of carabid communities and their provision of ecosystem services. Our results show that promoting crop diversity and connectivity to semi-natural habitats will directly enhance carabid communities in farmland by manipulating their migration from source habitats and indirectly by promoting the presence and diversity of their trophic resources. A reduction in field management intensity will preserve local standing weeds and weed seeds, and indirectly support carabid communities. These local and landscape modifications could contribute to improve the natural regulation of pests and weeds by carabids.


animal prey; carabid diversity; cascading effect; field management; landscape complexity; SEM path modelling; standing weeds; weed seeds

Published in

Journal of Applied Ecology
2022, volume: 59, number: 1, pages: 176-187
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Carbonne, Benjamin
Universite de Bourgogne
Bohan, David A.
Universite de Bourgogne
Foffova, Hana
Czech Crop Research Institute (CRI)
Daouti, Eirini Lamprini (Lamprini Daouti, Eirini)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Frei, Britta
University of Innsbruck
Neidel, Veronika
University of Innsbruck
Saska, Pavel
Czech Crop Research Institute (CRI)
Petit, Sandrine
Universite de Bourgogne

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

UKÄ Subject classification


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