Age of grassy strips influences biodiversity of ground beetles in organic agro-ecosystems


The following investigations were conducted to evaluate grassy strips of different age for organic arable fields. From September 2009 to October 2010, adult ground beetles were sampled by pitfall traps in three grassy strips (2, 4, and 9 years old), their adjacent cropping areas, their field edges, and a control field (age 0) in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. Carabid assemblages were similar among the fields, strips and edges. Grassy strips and edges had higher species richness and lower activity density than the control field. Activity density increased with increasing distance from the field edge in grassy strips and in the adjacent fields. In cropping areas, species richness andShannon’s H increased with increasing age of strips, whereas evenness and activity density decreased with increasing distance from the field edges. Compared to carnivorous and phytophagous carbides, omnivorous species were affected less by age of strips and distance from field margins. In the strips, species richness of the dominant species increased with age and decreased with distance, but the effect of strip age on species richness was still found in more than150 mfrom the margin. A positive effect of the age of grassy strips on species richness was found for cropping fields, grassy strips and field edges. Old grassy strips also exerted greater influence on the species richness and biodiversity of the adjacent arable fields than the younger strips.

Share and Cite:

Ranjha, M. and Irmler, U. (2013) Age of grassy strips influences biodiversity of ground beetles in organic agro-ecosystems. Agricultural Sciences, 4, 209-218. doi: 10.4236/as.2013.45030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Krebs, R.J., Wilson, J.D., Bradbury, R.B. and Siriwardena, G.M. (1999) The second silent spring? Nature, 400, 611-612. doi:10.1038/23127
[2] Green, R.E., Cornell, S.J., Scharle-mann, J.P.W. and Balmford, A. (2005) Farming and the fate of wild nature. Science, 307, 550-555. doi:10.1126/science.1106049
[3] Tscharntke. T. and Kruess, A. (1999) Habitat fragmentation and biological control. In: Hawkins, B.A. and Cornell, H.V., Eds., Theoretical Approaches to Biological Control, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 190-205.
[4] Thomas, M.B., Wratten, S.D. and Sotherton, N.W. (1991) Creation of island habitats in farmland to manipulate populations of beneficial arthropods: Predator densities and emigration. Journal of Applied Ecology, 28, 906-917. doi:10.2307/2404216
[5] Bommarco, R. (1998) Reproduction and energy reserves of a predatory carabid beetle relative to agroecosystem complexity. Ecological Applications, 8, 846-853. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(1998)008[0846:RAEROA]2.0.CO;2
[6] Asteraki, E.J., Hank, C.B. and Clements, R.O. (1995) The influence of different types of grassland field margin on carabid beetle (coleoptera, carabidae) communities. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 54, 195-202. doi:10.1016/0167-8809(95)00596-K
[7] Frank, T. and Reichhart, B. (2004) Staphylinidae and carabidae overwintering in wheat and sown wildflower areas of different age. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 94, 209-217. doi:10.1079/BER2004301
[8] Varchola J.M. and Dunn, J.P. (2001) Influence of hedgerow and grassy field borders on ground beetle (coleoptera: carabidae) activity in fields of corn. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 83, 153-163. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(00)00249-8
[9] Thomas, M.B. Wratten, S.D. and Sotherton, N.W. (1992) Creation of island habitats in farmland to manipulate populations of beneficial arthropods: Predator densities and species composition. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 524-531. doi:10.2307/2404521
[10] Koivula, M. (2011) Useful model organisms, indicators, or both? Ground beetles (coleoptera, carabidae) reflecting environmental conditions. ZooKeys, 100, 287-317. doi:10.3897/zookeys.100.1533
[11] Gaines H.R. and Gratton, C. (2010) Seed predation increases with ground beetle diversity in a Wisconsin (USA) potato agroecosystem. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 137, 329-336. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2010.03.003
[12] Bohan, D.A., Bohan, A.C., Glen, D.M., Symondson, W.O.C., Wiltshire, C.W. and Hughes, L. (2000) Spatial dynamics of predation by carabid beetles on slugs. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 367-379. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2656.2000.00399.x
[13] Thiele, H.-U. (1977) Carabid beetles in their environments: A study on habitat selection by adaptations in physiology and behaviour. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-81154-8
[14] Bengtsson, J., Ahnstrom, J. and Weibull, A. (2005) The effects of organic agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 261-269.
[15] Zehnder, G., Gurr, G.M., Kühne, S.M., Wade, R., Wratten, S.D. and Wyss, E. (2007) Arthropod pest management in organic crops. Annual Review of Entomology, 52, 57-80. doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091337
[16] Denys, C. and Tscharntke, T. (2002) Plant-insect communities and predator-prey ratios in field margin strips, adjacent crop fields, and fallows. Oecologia, 130, 315-324. doi:10.1007/s004420100796
[17] Kiss, J., Kádár, F., Kozma, E. and Tóth, I. (1993) Importance of various habitats in agricultural landscape related to integrated pest management: A preliminary study. Landscape Urban Plan, 27, 191-198. doi:10.1016/0169-2046(93)90049-J
[18] Schroter, L. and Irm-ler, U. (2013) Organic cultivation reduces barrier effect of arable fields on species diversity. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 164, 176-180. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2012.09.018
[19] Reiss, S., Bork, H.-R., Hoernes, U., Rinker, A. and Mitusov, A. (2008) Die verbreitung der boden auf den ackerflachen von hof ritzerau. Fauistisch-Okologische Mitteilungen, 35, 59-73.
[20] Roweck, V.H. (2008) Die aktuelle und potenzielle floristische diversitat der feldfluren auf hof ritzerau. Fauistisch-Okologische Mitteilungen, 35, 103-122.
[21] Müller, G.-M. (2004) Adephaga I carabidae (laufkafer). In: Freude, H., Harde, K.W., Lohse G.A. and Klausnitzer, B., Eds., Die Kafer Mitteleuropas, München, Elsevier, p. 521.
[22] Wallin, H. and Ekbom, B.S. (1988) Movements of carabid beetles (coleoptera: carabidae) inhabiting cereal fields: A field tracing study. Ecologia, 77, 39-43.
[23] Hurlbert, S.H. (1984) Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecolgical Monographs, 54, 187-211. doi:10.2307/1942661
[24] Lindroth, C.H. (1992) The ground-beetles (carabidae) of fennoscandia. A zoogeographic study. Part I. Specific knowledge regarding the species. Amerind Publishing, New Delhi.
[25] Warner, D.J., Allen-Williams, L.J. Warrington, S., Ferguson, A.W. and Williams, I.H. (2008) Implications for conservation biocontrol of spatiotemporal relationships between carabid beetles and coleopterous pests in winter oilseed rape. Agricultural and forest Entomology, 10, 375-387. doi:10.1111/j.1461-9563.2008.00391.x
[26] StatSoft, Inc. STATISTICA for Windows [Software-System for Data analysis] Version 6, 2004.
[27] O. Hammer, Harper, D.A.T. and Ryan, P.D. (2001) PAST: Paleontological statistics software package for education and data analysis. Palaeont Electronica, 4, 1-9.
[28] Irmler, U. (2003) The spatial and temporal pattern of Carabid beetles on arable fields in northern Germany (Schleswig-Holstein) and their value as ecological indicators. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 98, 141-151. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(03)00076-8
[29] Weibull, A. Ostman, O. and Granqvist, A. (2003) Species richness in agroecosystems: The effect of landscape, habitat and farm management. Biodiversity and Conservation, 12, 1335-1355. doi:10.1023/A:1023617117780
[30] Kromp, B. and Steinberger, K. (1992) Grassy field margins and arthropod diversity: A case study on ground beetles and spiders in eastern Austria (Coleoptera: Carabidae; Arachnida: Aranei, Opiliones). Agri-culture, Ecosystem and Environment, 40, 71-93. doi:10.1016/0167-8809(92)90085-P
[31] Saska, P. Vodde, M., Heijerman, T., Westerman, P. and van der Werf, W. (2007) The significance of a grassy field boundary for the spatial distribution of carabids within two cereal fields. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 122, 427-434. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2007.02.013
[32] Lys, J.-A. (1994) The positive influence of strip-management on ground beetles in a cereal field: Increase, migration and overwintering. In: Desender, K., Dufrene, M., Loreau, M., Luff, M.L. and Maelfait, J.P., Eds., Carabid Beetles: Ecology and Evolution, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 451-455. doi:10.1007/978-94-017-0968-2_68
[33] van Dijk, T.S. (1994) On the relationship between food, reproduction and survival of two carabid beetles: Calathus melanocephalus and Pterostichus versicolor. Ecological Entomology, 19, 263-270. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.1994.tb00418.x
[34] Frank, T., Kehrli, P. and Germann, C. (2007) Density and nutritional condition of carabid beetles in wildflower areas of different age. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 120, 377-383. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2006.10.012
[35] Olson, D.M. And Wack-ers, F.L. (2007) Management of field margins to maximize multiple ecological services. Journal of Applied Ecology, 44, 13-21. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2006.01241.x
[36] Salamon, J., Wis-suwa, J., Jagos, S., Koblmüller, M., Ozinger, O., Winkler, C. and Frank, T. (2011) Plant species effects on soil macrofauna density in grassy arable fallows of different age. European Journal of Soil Biology, 47, 129-137. doi:10.1016/j.ejsobi.2011.01.004
[37] Thies, C. and Tscharntke, T. (1999) Landscape structure and biological control in agroecosystems. Science, 285, 893-895. doi:10.1126/science.285.5429.893
[38] Smith, J., Potts, S. and Eggleton, P. (2008) The value of sown grass margins for enhancing soil macrofaunal biodiversity in arable systems. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 27, 119-125. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2008.03.008
[39] Hof, A.R. and Bright, P.W. (2010) The impact of grassy field margins on macro-invertebrate abundance in adjacent arable fields. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 139, 280-283. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2010.08.014
[40] Thomas, C.F.G. and Marshall, E.J.P. (1999) Arthropod abundance and diversity in differently vegetated margins of arable fields. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 72, 131-144. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(98)00169-8
[41] Eyre, M.D., Labanowska-Bury, D., White, R. and Leifert, C. (2011) Rela-tionships between beneficial invertebrates, field margin vegetation, and thrip damage in organic leek fields in eastern England. Organic Agriculture, 1, N45-N54. doi:10.1007/s13165-010-0004-x
[42] Collins, K.L., Boatman, N.D., Wilcox, A., Holland, J.M. and Chaney, K. (2002) Influ-ence of beetle banks on cereal aphid predation in winter wheat. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment, 93, 337-350. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(01)00340-1
[43] Lys, J.-A., Zim-mermann, M. and Nentwig, W. (1994) Increase in activity and species number of carabid beetles in cereals as a result of strip-management. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 73, 1-9. doi:10.1111/j.1570-7458.1994.tb01833.x
[44] Gardiner, M.M., Landis, D.A., Gratton, C., Schmidt, N., O’Neal, M., Mueller, E., Chacon, J. and Heimpel, G.E. (2010) Landscape composition influences the activity density of carabidae and arachnida in soybean fields. Biological Control, 55, 11-19. doi:10.1016/j.biocontrol.2010.06.008
[45] Purtauf, T., Roschewitz, I., Dauber, J., Thies, C., Tscharntke, T. and Wolters, V. (2005) Landscape context of organic and conventional farms: Influences on carabid beetle diversity. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 108, 165-174. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2005.01.005

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.