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Verena Rösch, Teja Tscharntke, Christoph Scherber and Péter Batáry Landscape composition, connectivity and fragment size drive effects of grassland fragmentation on insect communities Journal of Applied Ecology 50

Article first published online: 25 FEB 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12056

Our results show for the first time that insect species richness can be negatively affected by increasing habitat isolation in simplified but not in complex landscapes and in small but not in large fragments. We provide evidence that mitigating the negative effects of habitat fragmentation needs to take the surrounding landscape into account. Management efforts should prioritize (i) an increase in connectivity of small, isolated fragments, (ii) an increase in connectivity of fragments in simple landscapes and (iii) enhanced dispersal by increasing heterogeneity of both landscape composition and configuration. Moreover, extensive management of fragments by grazing or mowing to increase local habitat quality for leafhoppers would benefit other insect groups as well.

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