Effect of land-use heterogeneity on carabid communities at the landscape scale


  • Adam J. Vanbergen,

  • Ben A. Woodcock,

  • Allan D. Watt,

  • Jari Niemelä

A. J. Vanbergen (ajv@ceh.ac.uk), B. A. Woodcock and A. D. Watt, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Banchory, Hill of Brathens, Banchory, UK AB31 4BW. — J. Niemelä, Dept of Ecology and Systematics, P.O. Box 17, FIN-0014 Univ. of Helsinki, Finland.


Carabid beetle assemblages were studied to assess how diversity and community structure varied along a gradient of land-use. This gradient was composed of six 1 km2 quadrats with an increasing proportion of agricultural land reflecting the anthropogenic fragmentation and intensification of landscapes. Carabid species richness and abundance was predicted to peak in the most heterogeneous landscape, in accord with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH), and then decline as agricultural intensification increased. It was also predicted that the different landscapes would support beetle communities distinct from each other. The IDH was unsupported-in both years of this study carabid species richness and abundance was greatest in the most intensively managed, agricultural sites. Detrended correspondence analysis revealed a clear separation in beetle community structure between forested and open habitats and between different forest types. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed a significant correlation between beetle community structure and the environment, showing distinct beetle assemblages to be significantly associated with specific edaphic and botanical features of the land-use gradient. This study adds to increasing evidence that landscape-scale patterns in land-use significantly affect beetle community structure producing distinct assemblages.