The effect of organic farming on butterfly diversity depends on landscape context
We investigated the effect of farming practice on butterfly species richness and abundance along cereal field headlands and margins on 12 matched pairs of organic and conventional farms in contrasting landscapes (homogeneous and heterogeneous landscape diversity).
Both organic farming and landscape heterogeneity significantly increased butterfly species richness and abundance. There was also a significant interaction between farming practice and landscape heterogeneity, because organic farming only significantly increased butterfly species richness and abundance in homogeneous rather than heterogeneous landscapes.
An analysis of the distribution of organic farming in Sweden in relation to productivity of the arable land (yield of spring barley, kg ha(-1)) indicated that the distribution of organic farms was skewed towards extensively farmed agricultural areas.
Synthesis and applications. The species richness and abundance of butterflies can be enhanced by actions aimed at both promoting organic farming and increasing landscape heterogeneity. However, the beneficial effect of organic farming was only evident in intensively farmed homogeneous landscapes. Currently, the majority of organic arable land in Sweden is located in heterogeneous landscapes where changing the type of farming practice adds little to the existing biodiversity. We therefore propose that the interaction between landscape heterogeneity and farming practice must be considered when promoting farmland biodiversity, for example in Europe by developing context-based agri-environment schemes to increase the amount of organic farming in intensively farmed landscapes. We also propose that in homogeneous agricultural landscapes, organic farming could be used as a more efficient tool to restore landscape heterogeneity if the creation of semi-natural landscape elements was mandatory in the regulations associated with organic agri-environment schemes.
- ISSN: 1365-2664
Sölvegatan 37, Lund
Head of department
Sölvegatan 37, Lund
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- Effects of wildlife conservation efforts on a declining farmland bird, the partridge, and farmland biodiversity
- Exploring synergies – management of multifunctional agricultural landscapes in a changing climate
- Insect pollination in oilseed rape
- More biodiversity at less cost: an integrated ecological-economic approach to preservation of small landscape elements
- Policy support in farmland
- Pollination and pest control in organic clover
- Pollination modelling in complex landscapes
- Predicting effects of the common agricultural policy on farmland birds
- Status and Trends of European Pollinators
Doctoral students and postdocs
PhD students, main supervisor
- Cecilia Hjort
- Lovisa Nilsson, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
- William Sidemo Holm, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
- Torben Wittver, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
PhD students, assistant supervisor
- Carsten Kost
- Johanna Yourstone
- Ivetete Raices Cruz, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
- Hampus Nilsson, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research
- Sandra Goded, University of Santiago de Compostela
Downloads & links
- Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Climate (BECC). A strategic cross-disciplinary research environment at Lund and Gothenburg Universities. Focus on the consequences of climate change for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Coordinator.
- Multifunctional Agriculture: Harnessing Biodiversity for Sustaining Agricultural Production and Ecosystems (SAPES). A strong research environment funded by Formas. Focus on how agricultural land-use and management affect multiple ecosystem services. Coordinator