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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Aug 13;116(33):16442-16447. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1906419116. Epub 2019 Jul 29.

Increasing crop heterogeneity enhances multitrophic diversity across agricultural regions.

Author information

1
UMR 5175 CEFE, CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier, EPHE, IRD, F-34293 Montpellier, France; clelia.sirami@inra.fr.
2
UMR 1201 DYNAFOR, Université de Toulouse, INRA, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France.
3
LTSER Zone Atelier Pyrénées Garonne, F-31320 Auzeville-Tolosane, France.
4
UMR Ecosystème Prairial, UCA, INRA, VetAgro Sup, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
5
LTSER Zone Atelier Plaine et Val de Sèvre, F-79360 Villiers en Bois, France.
6
Departamento de Biología y Geología, Física y Química Inorgánica, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, 28933 Móstoles, Spain.
7
Agroecology, Department for Crop Sciences, University of Goettingen, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.
8
Agroecology and Biodiversity, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland.
9
UMR 0980 BAGAP, INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, ESA, F-35042 Rennes, France.
10
UMR 1402 ECOSYS, INRA, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, F-78026 Versailles, France.
11
UMR 6553 ECOBIO, CNRS, Université de Rennes 1, F-35042 Rennes, France.
12
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden.
13
UMR 7372 CEBC, CNRS, Université de La Rochelle, F-79360 Villiers en Bois, France.
14
USC1339 SEC-LR, INRA, Villiers en Bois, F-79360 Niort, France.
15
Swedish Species Information Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
16
UR1115 PSH, INRA, F-84914 Avignon, France.
17
UMR 5175 CEFE, CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier, EPHE, IRD, F-34293 Montpellier, France.
18
UMR 7204 CESCO, Sorbonne Universités, CNRS, UPMC, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, F-75005 Paris, France.
19
LTSER, Zone Atelier Armorique, F-35042 Rennes Cedex, France.
20
Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada.
21
"Lendület" Landscape and Conservation Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Botany, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, 2163 Vácrátót, Hungary.
22
CTFC Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia, 25280 Solsona, Spain.
23
URP3F, INRA, 86600 Lusignan, France.
24
Tour du Valat, Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands, F-13200 Arles, France.
25
InForest Joint Research Unit, 25280 Solsona, Spain.
26
Agrotecnio, Universitat de Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain.
27
Department of HBJ, ETSEA, Universitat de Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain.
28
CREAF, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.
29
Departament de Biologia Animal, de Biologia Vegetal i d'Ecologia, Universitat Autònoma Barcelona, 08193 Cerdanyola Del Vallès, Spain.
30
Instituto Universitario de Investigación, CIBIO, University of Alicante, 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain.
31
Area de Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100, Murcia, Spain.
32
British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, United Kingdom.
33
CSIC, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Abstract

Agricultural landscape homogenization has detrimental effects on biodiversity and key ecosystem services. Increasing agricultural landscape heterogeneity by increasing seminatural cover can help to mitigate biodiversity loss. However, the amount of seminatural cover is generally low and difficult to increase in many intensively managed agricultural landscapes. We hypothesized that increasing the heterogeneity of the crop mosaic itself (hereafter "crop heterogeneity") can also have positive effects on biodiversity. In 8 contrasting regions of Europe and North America, we selected 435 landscapes along independent gradients of crop diversity and mean field size. Within each landscape, we selected 3 sampling sites in 1, 2, or 3 crop types. We sampled 7 taxa (plants, bees, butterflies, hoverflies, carabids, spiders, and birds) and calculated a synthetic index of multitrophic diversity at the landscape level. Increasing crop heterogeneity was more beneficial for multitrophic diversity than increasing seminatural cover. For instance, the effect of decreasing mean field size from 5 to 2.8 ha was as strong as the effect of increasing seminatural cover from 0.5 to 11%. Decreasing mean field size benefited multitrophic diversity even in the absence of seminatural vegetation between fields. Increasing the number of crop types sampled had a positive effect on landscape-level multitrophic diversity. However, the effect of increasing crop diversity in the landscape surrounding fields sampled depended on the amount of seminatural cover. Our study provides large-scale, multitrophic, cross-regional evidence that increasing crop heterogeneity can be an effective way to increase biodiversity in agricultural landscapes without taking land out of agricultural production.

KEYWORDS:

biodiversity; crop mosaic; farmland; landscape complementation; multitaxa

PMID:
31358630
PMCID:
PMC6697893
[Available on 2020-01-29]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1906419116

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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