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Oecologia. 2011 Mar;165(3):713-21. doi: 10.1007/s00442-010-1746-6. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

Differential effects of habitat isolation and landscape composition on wasps, bees, and their enemies.

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Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Community Ecology, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.


Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Effects of these usually intercorrelated processes on biodiversity have rarely been separated at a landscape scale. We studied the independent effects of amount of woody habitat in the landscape and three levels of isolation from the next woody habitat (patch isolation) on trap nesting bees, wasps, and their enemies at 30 farmland sites in the Swiss plateau. Species richness of wasps was negatively affected by patch isolation and positively affected by the amount of woody habitat in the landscape. In contrast, species richness of bees was neither influenced by patch isolation nor by landscape composition. Isolation from woody habitats reduced species richness and abundance of natural enemies more strongly than of their hosts, so that parasitism rate was lowered by half in isolated sites compared to forest edges. Thus, population regulation of the hosts may be weakened by habitat fragmentation. We conclude that habitat amount at the landscape scale and local patch connectivity are simultaneously important for biodiversity conservation.

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