Homogenization of lepidopteran communities in intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes
Article first published online: 11 JAN 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 47, Issue 2, pages 459–467, April 2010
How to Cite
Ekroos, J., Heliölä, J. and Kuussaari, M. (2010), Homogenization of lepidopteran communities in intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47: 459–467. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2009.01767.x
- Issue published online: 8 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 11 JAN 2010
- Received 1 September 2009; accepted 11 December 2009Handling Editor: Michael Pocock
- agricultural intensity;
- agri-environment schemes;
- alpha and beta diversity;
- biodiversity loss threshold;
- community similarity;
- day-active moths;
- habitat generalist;
- habitat specialist;
1. Landscape simplification and habitat fragmentation may cause severe declines of less mobile and habitat specialist species and lead to biotic homogenization of species communities, but large-scale empirical evidence on biotic homogenization remains sparse.
2. We sampled butterfly and day-active geometrid moth communities within 134 differently fragmented landscapes in Finland situated in five geographical regions. Overall species richness was partitioned into alpha and beta diversity and butterflies were assigned a species-specific mobility rank and habitat specificity score based on published ecological trait classifications.
3. Alpha and beta diversity of butterflies and geometrid moths decreased with increasing agricultural intensity, independently of geographical position. The responses were either linear or nonlinear with accelerating decrease of diversity when arable field cover exceeded 60%.
4. Mobility rank and percentage generalists of butterfly communities increased linearly with increasing field cover.
5. In landscapes with high agricultural intensity (>60% field coverage), the decrease in beta diversity of butterflies was strongly associated with an increasing proportion of habitat generalists and increasing average mobility in the butterfly communities. However, there was no such relationship in landscapes with low or moderate agricultural intensity.
6. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that biotic homogenization caused by land-use change arises as a consequence of the loss of habitat specialists and poor dispersers in intensively cultivated landscapes with simplified landscape structure. Agri-environment schemes will therefore be inefficient in protecting high beta diversity unless they explicitly increase habitat availability and connectivity for habitat specialists and poor dispersers.