Main content area

Effects of land use and landscape patterns on Orthoptera communities in the Western Siberian forest steppe

Weking, Sarah, Kämpf, Immo, Mathar, Wanja, Hölzel, Norbert
Biodiversity and conservation 2016 v.25 no.12 pp. 2341-2359
Orthoptera, adults, agricultural management, community structure, conservation tillage, cropland, ecotones, forests, habitats, indicator species, intensive farming, land use, landscapes, livestock, nymphs, species diversity, steppes, vegetation structure, Siberia, USSR
Across Western Siberia, land use has changed substantially since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991: large cropland areas were abandoned and livestock numbers declined. In recent years these trends have partly been reversed, and an intensification of agricultural management has been observed that is still ongoing. We evaluated the impact of land use, as well as effects of landscape patterns and vegetation structure on Orthoptera communities and discuss them as drivers of community composition, species richness and abundance. We sampled Orthoptera using a box-quadrat on ancient grassland, ex-arable grassland (both including different management types: unmanaged, grazed and mown) and cereal fields. Landscape heterogeneity and composition strongly affected species richness and abundance of Orthoptera. Both were higher in grassland than in cropland, but did not differ significantly between ex-arable and ancient grasslands or different management practices. An Indicator Species Analysis revealed differentiation of Orthoptera communities between all management types. On croplands, the number of adult individuals and nymphs was influenced by the proportion of grassland in the surrounding landscape and tillage practices. Conservation tillage is most likely the key factor allowing Orthoptera to reproduce on croplands. After up to 24 years of succession, Orthoptera communities of ex-arable grasslands can be considered as completely recovered, as differences to ancient grasslands were minimal. Besides the continuation of low-intensity management, conservation strategies for this region should consider landscape composition and support habitat heterogeneity like ecotones with hemi-boreal forests in grassland-dominated landscapes.