Delaying mowing and leaving uncut refuges boosts orthopterans in extensively managed meadows: Evidence drawn from field-scale experimentation

Buri, Pierrick; Arlettaz, Raphaël; Humbert, Jean-Yves (2013). Delaying mowing and leaving uncut refuges boosts orthopterans in extensively managed meadows: Evidence drawn from field-scale experimentation. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 181, pp. 22-30. Elsevier 10.1016/j.agee.2013.09.003

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Semi-natural grasslands are widely recognized for their high ecological value. They often count among the most species-rich habitats, especially in traditional cultural landscapes. Maintaining and/or restoring them is a top priority, but nevertheless represents a real conservation challenge, especially regarding their invertebrate assemblages. The main goal of this study was to experimentally investigate the influence of four different mowing regimes on orthopteran communities and populations: (1) control meadow (C-meadow): mowing regime according to the Swiss regulations for extensively managed meadows declared as ecological compensation areas, i.e. first cut not before 15 June; (2) first cut not before 15 July (delayed treatment, D-meadow); (3) first cut not before 15 June and second cut not earlier than 8 weeks from the first cut (8W-meadow); (4) refuges left uncut on 10–20% of the meadow area (R-meadow). Data were collected two years after the introduction of these mowing treatments. Orthopteran densities from spring to early summer were five times higher in D-meadows, compared to C-meadows. In R-meadows, densities were, on average, twice as high as in C-meadows, while mean species richness was 23% higher in R-meadows than in C-meadows. Provided that farmers were given the appropriate financial incentives, the D- and R-meadow regimes could be relatively easy to implement within agri-environment schemes. Such meadows could deliver substantial benefits for functional biodiversity, including sustenance to many secondary consumers dependent on field invertebrates as staple food.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Buri, Pierrick; Arlettaz, Raphaël and Humbert, Jean-Yves

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

0167-8809

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

28 Apr 2014 10:34

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2015 10:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.agee.2013.09.003

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.43155

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/43155

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