A global synthesis of the effects of diversified farming systems on arthropod diversity within fields and across agricultural landscapes

Elinor M. Lichtenberg*, Christina M. Kennedy, Claire Kremen, Péter Batáry, Frank Berendse, Riccardo Bommarco, Nilsa A. Bosque-Pérez, Luísa G. Carvalheiro, William E. Snyder, Neal M. Williams, Rachael Winfree, Björn K. Klatt, Sandra Åström, Faye Benjamin, Claire Brittain, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Yann Clough, Bryan Danforth, Tim Diekötter, Sanford D. EigenbrodeJohan Ekroos, Elizabeth Elle, Breno M. Freitas, Yuki Fukuda, Hannah R. Gaines-Day, Heather Grab, Claudio Gratton, Andrea Holzschuh, Rufus Isaacs, Marco Isaia, Shalene Jha, Dennis Jonason, Vincent P. Jones, Alexandra Maria Klein, Jochen Krauss, Deborah K. Letourneau, Sarina Macfadyen, Rachel E. Mallinger, Emily A. Martin, Eliana Martinez, Jane Memmott, Lora Morandin, Lisa Neame, Mark Otieno, Mia G. Park, Lukas Pfiffner, Michael J.O. Pocock, Carlos Ponce, Simon G. Potts, Katja Poveda, Mariangie Ramos, Jay A. Rosenheim, Maj Rundlöf, Hillary Sardiñas, Manu E. Saunders, Nicole L. Schon, Amber R. Sciligo, C.S. Sidhu, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Teja Tscharntke, Milan Veselý, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Julianna K. Wilson, David W. Crowder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

235 Citations (Scopus)


Agricultural intensification is a leading cause of global biodiversity loss, which can reduce the provisioning of ecosystem services in managed ecosystems. Organic farming and plant diversification are farm management schemes that may mitigate potential ecological harm by increasing species richness and boosting related ecosystem services to agroecosystems. What remains unclear is the extent to which farm management schemes affect biodiversity components other than species richness, and whether impacts differ across spatial scales and landscape contexts. Using a global metadataset, we quantified the effects of organic farming and plant diversification on abundance, local diversity (communities within fields), and regional diversity (communities across fields) of arthropod pollinators, predators, herbivores, and detritivores. Both organic farming and higher in-field plant diversity enhanced arthropod abundance, particularly for rare taxa. This resulted in increased richness but decreased evenness. While these responses were stronger at local relative to regional scales, richness and abundance increased at both scales, and richness on farms embedded in complex relative to simple landscapes. Overall, both organic farming and in-field plant diversification exerted the strongest effects on pollinators and predators, suggesting these management schemes can facilitate ecosystem service providers without augmenting herbivore (pest) populations. Our results suggest that organic farming and plant diversification promote diverse arthropod metacommunities that may provide temporal and spatial stability of ecosystem service provisioning. Conserving diverse plant and arthropod communities in farming systems therefore requires sustainable practices that operate both within fields and across landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4946-4957
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number11
Early online date10 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


  • Agricultural management schemes
  • Arthropod diversity
  • Biodiversity
  • Evenness
  • Functional groups
  • Landscape complexity
  • Meta-analysis
  • Organic farming
  • Plant diversity


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