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Re-establishing grasslands to promote farmland biodiversity and key ecosystem services

Project Leader
Frank Thomas, Project Leader
Duration:
01.08.2015-31.07.2018
Type of Research
Basic Research
Project partners
Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Uncervisningsplan 6D, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
Contact person: Öckinger Erik;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Landwirtschaftliches Forschungszentrum Raumberg-Gumpenstein, Austria.
Contact person: Krautzer Bernhard;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Universität Koblenz-Landau, Germany.
Contact person: Entling Martin;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.
Contact person: Moser Dietmar;
Function of the Project Partner: Partner
Staff
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Zoology
Funded by
Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) , Sensengasse 1, 1090 Wien, Austria
Abstract
In a three-year investigation the proposed project will investigate whether the re-establishment of small grassland in the surroundings of a large semi-natural habitat remnant is a viable strategy to re-populate the landscape with beneficial species (epigeic predators: carabid beetles and spiders; pollinators: wild bees and hoverflies) and to increase ecosystem service efficacy of biological control and pollination, therewith transferring the positive effects of a habitat remnant into the open agricultural landscape. We will newly establish grasslands of 450 x 10 m as habitat and dispersal corridor for beneficial arthropods. Therefore, 72 study sites will be set up in an intensively managed agricultural region along transects from a semi-natural habitat remnant into adjacent arable land. Study sites are located within the habitat remnant, the newly established grasslands, in crop areas 20 m and 300 m from the grasslands. We will set up a randomized complete block design with repeated measurements over time to answer the following questions: 1) Are newly established grasslands appropriate to increase species richness and abundance of common agrobiont predators and pollinators within and nearby the grasslands in a short term? How do species specific traits affect temporal and spatial colonisation patterns of common agrobiont predators and pollinators? 2) Do newly established grasslands serve as temporal feeding habitats and dispersal corridor for habitat specialists dispersing from a semi-natural source habitat into the agricultural matrix, therewith expanding their operating range? How do species specific traits affect temporal and spatial colonisation patterns of habitat specialists? 3) Do newly established grasslands significantly enhance ecosystem service efficacy of biological control and pollination in the ambient agricultural land in a short term? 4) How are biological control and pollination related to species richness and abundance of epigeic predators and pollinators? The outcomes of the study may be fundamental for the development of agri-environment schemes that aim to conserve, enhance or re-establish key ecosystem services in European agricultural landscapes.
Keywords
Biodiversity research; Animal ecology ; Agroecology;
pollinators; pollination; biological pest control; Re-etsblishing grassland; predators;
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