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Taxon- and functional group-specific responses of ground beetles and spiders to landscape complexity and management intensity in apple orchards of the North China Plain

Wang, M; Yu, Z; Liu, Y; Wu, P; Axmacher, JC; (2022) Taxon- and functional group-specific responses of ground beetles and spiders to landscape complexity and management intensity in apple orchards of the North China Plain. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment , 323 , Article 107700. 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107700.

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Abstract

Agricultural intensification has caused severe declines in ground-dwelling arthropods and associated ecosystem services. The conservation and re-establishment of semi-natural habitats in agricultural landscapes represent widely accepted measures to counter these declines. The effectiveness of these measures nonetheless varies between target taxa and their functional traits, while also being affected by local management. Here, we studied how species richness and abundance of different functional groups of carabid beetles and spiders in apple orchards were affected by landscape complexity (% semi-natural habitat) and local management intensity (mowing and soil total nitrogen (STN) content). Both abundance and species richness of non-carnivorous carabids and carabids overall were negatively affected by STN, while the abundance of carnivorous carabids and carabids overall was affected by interactive effects of mowing and landscape complexity, showing a positive response to mowing where semi-natural habitats are scarce, but negative responses in landscapes with a higher proportion of semi-natural habitats. The abundance of ground-hunting spiders and spiders overall was generally positively related to % semi-natural habitats, while the abundance of web-building spiders and the species richness of ground-hunting spiders showed a positive correlation with STN at landscapes with a low or medium abundance of semi-natural habitats, but a negative correlation where semi-natural habitats were more abundant. Non-carnivorous carabid diversity benefitted from low nitrogen application, while carnivorous carabid abundance benefitted from mowing intensity especially in simple and structurally homogenous agricultural landscapes. Both web-building and ground-hunting spiders positively responded to low nitrogen applications and intermediate landscape complexity. Overall, a low local management intensity promoted carabid beetles, while spiders were favored by increasing landscape complexity. We conclude that taxon- and functional group-specific, multi-scale conservation strategies are therefore required to conserve invertebrate predators in apple orchards.

Type: Article
Title: Taxon- and functional group-specific responses of ground beetles and spiders to landscape complexity and management intensity in apple orchards of the North China Plain
DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107700
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2021.107700
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Agricultural intensification, Semi-natural habitats, Generalist predators, Functional traits
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135471
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