Species’ traits influence ground beetle responses to farm and landscape level agricultural intensification in Europe

C. Winqvist, J. Bengtsson, E. Öckinger, T. Aavik, F. Berendse, L.W. Clement, F. Geiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Agricultural intensification may result in important shifts in insect community composition and function, but this remains poorly explored. Studying how groups of species with shared traits respond to local and landscape scale land-use management can reveal mechanisms behind such observed impacts. We tested if ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) divided into trait groups based on body sizes, wing morphologies and dietary preferences respond differently to farming practise (organic and conventional), farming intensity (measured as yield) and landscape complexity (measured as the proportion of arable land within a 1,000 m radius) across Europe. We used data from 143 farms in five regions in northern and central Europe. Organic farms did not differ in abundance or richness of any trait group compared to conventional farms. As farm scale intensity (yield) increased, overall abundance of beetles decreased, but abundances of small and medium sized beetles, as well as that of wingless beetles, were unaffected. Overall species richness was not affected by yield, whereas consideration of traits revealed that phytophagous and omnivorous beetles were less species rich on farms with high yields. Increasing the proportion of arable land in the landscape increased overall beetle abundance. This was driven by an increase in omnivorous beetles. The total species richness was not affected by an increase in the proportion arable land, although the richness of wingless beetles was found to increase. Potential effects on ecosystem functioning need to be taken into account when designing schemes to maintain agricultural biodiversity, because species with different ecological traits respond differently to local management and landscape changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-846
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • carabid beetle
  • habitat fragmentation
  • biological-control
  • intraguild predation
  • functional diversity
  • spatial scales
  • arable crops
  • context
  • biodiversity
  • land

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