Large carabid beetle declines in a United Kingdom monitoring network increases evidence for a widespread loss in insect biodiversity

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Brooks, D. R., Bater, J., Clark, S. J., Monteith, D. T., Andrews, C., Corbett, S. J., Beaumont, D. A. and Chapman, J. W. 2012. Large carabid beetle declines in a United Kingdom monitoring network increases evidence for a widespread loss in insect biodiversity. Journal of Applied Ecology. 49 (5), pp. 1009-1019.

AuthorsBrooks, D. R., Bater, J., Clark, S. J., Monteith, D. T., Andrews, C., Corbett, S. J., Beaumont, D. A. and Chapman, J. W.
Abstract

Carabid beetles are important functional components of many terrestrial ecosystems. Here, we describe the first long-term, wide-scale and quantitative assessment of temporal changes in UK carabid communities, to inform nationwide management aimed at their conservation. Multivariate and mixed models were used to assess temporal trends over a 15-year period, across eleven sites in the UK Environmental Change Network. Sites covered pasture, field margins, chalk downland, woodland and hedgerows in the lowlands, moorland and pasture in the uplands, and grassland, heaths and bogs in montane locations. We found substantial overall declines in carabid biodiversity. Three-quarters of the species studied declined, half of which were estimated to be undergoing population reductions of > 30%, when averaged over 10-year periods. Declines of this magnitude are recognized to be of conservation concern. They are comparable to those reported for butterflies and moths and increase the evidence base showing that insects are undergoing serious and widespread biodiversity losses. Overall trends masked differences between regions and habitats. Carabid population declines (10-year trend, averaged across species) were estimated to be 52% in montane sites, 31% in northern moorland sites and 28% in western pasture sites (with at least 80% of species declining in each case). Conversely, populations in our southern downland site had 10-year increases of 48% on average. Overall, biodiversity was maintained in upland pasture, and populations were mostly stable in woodland and hedgerow sites. Synthesis and applications. Our results highlight the need to assess trends for carabids, and probably other widespread and ubiquitous taxa, across regions and habitats to fully understand losses in biodiversity. Land management should be underpinned by a consideration of how wide-scale environmental drivers interact with habitat structure. The stability of population trends in woodlands and hedgerows of species that are declining elsewhere puts these habitats at the fore-front of integrated landscape management aimed at preserving their ecosystem services.

Keywordsbiodiversity conservation; Ecology
Year of Publication2012
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Journal citation49 (5), pp. 1009-1019
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02194.x
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderAgri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Northern Ireland)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Welsh Assembly Government
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Environment Agency, Forestry Commission
Natural England - UK
Natural Environment Research Council
Northern Ireland Environment Agency
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Scottish Government
Scottish Natural Heritage
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Funder project or codeSEF
Centre for Mathematical and Computational Biology (MCB)
Delivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
The Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments including Sample Archive and e-RA database [2012-2017]
Movement and spatial ecology in agricultural landscapes
Population and community ecology: conservation and dynamics
Bio Nano Consult (Rocre Tenant)
PublisherWiley
ISSN0021-8901

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