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Effects of grassland management on arthropod diversity

  • The ongoing loss of species is a global threat to biodiversity, affecting ecosystems worldwide. This also concerns arthropods such as insects and spiders, which are especially endangered in agricultural ecosystems. Here, one of the main causing factors is management intensification. In areas with a high proportion of traditionally managed grassland, extensive hay meadows that are cut only once per year can still hold high levels of biodiversity, but are threatened by conversion into highly productive silage grassland. The Westerwald mountain range, western Germany, is such a region. In this thesis, I compare the local diversity of bees, beetles, hoverflies, leafhoppers, and spiders of five grassland management regimes along a gradient of land-use intensity. These comprise naturally occurring grassland fallows, three types of traditionally managed hay meadows, and intensively used silage grassland. By using three different sampling methods, I recorded ground-dwelling, flower-visiting, and vegetation-dwelling species. The results show that in most cases species richness and diversity are highest on fallows, whereas variation among different managed grassland types is very low. Also, for most sampled taxa, fallows harbour the most distinct species assemblages, while that of other management regimes are largely overlapping. Management has the largest effect on species composition, whereas environmental parameters are of minor importance. Long-term grassland fallows seem to be highly valuable for arthropod conservation, even in a landscape with a low overall land-use intensity, providing structural heterogeneity. In conclusion, such fallows should be subsidized agri-environmental schemes, to preserve insect and spider diversity.

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Author:Tobias Frenzel
Referee:Klaus Fischer, Thomas Wagner
Advisor:Klaus Fischer
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2022/04/11
Date of publication:2022/04/12
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz, Fachbereich 3
Date of final exam:2022/03/21
Release Date:2022/04/12
Number of pages:33
Online-Ressource enthält keine Zeitschriftenaufsätze.
Institutes:Fachbereich 3 / Institut für Integrierte Naturwissenschaften / Institut für Integrierte Naturwissenschaften, Abt. Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG