Enhancing floral diversity to increase the robustness of grassland beetle assemblages to environmental change

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Woodcock, B. A., Bullock, J. M., Nowakowski, M., Orr, R., Tallowin, J. R. B. and Pywell, R. F. 2012. Enhancing floral diversity to increase the robustness of grassland beetle assemblages to environmental change. Conservation Letters. 5, pp. 459-469.

AuthorsWoodcock, B. A., Bullock, J. M., Nowakowski, M., Orr, R., Tallowin, J. R. B. and Pywell, R. F.
Abstract

Intensive grassland management has produced floristically species poor swards supporting a limited invertebrate fauna. Low cost seed mixtures can be used to increase floristic diversity and so diversify the food resource of phytophagous
invertebrate. We quantify trophic links between plants and phytophagous beetles in grasslands established using three seed mixtures. Using food webs, we model secondary extinctions from the beetle communities caused by the loss
of host-plants. Plant species were eliminated according to three scenarios: (1) drought intolerant first; (2) low nutrient status first; (3) stress tolerant first. Diverse seed mixtures containing grasses, legumes, and nonlegume forbs, were more robust to secondary beetle extinctions. The highest diversity seed mixture increased robustness under scenarios of extreme drought in three out of four tested management regimes. Simple and low cost seed mixtures have the potential to promote landscape scale robustness to future environmental change for native invertebrates.

KeywordsAgri-environment scheme; Drought tolerance; Ellenberg indicator values; Grime life history strategies; Environmental change; Robustness
Year of Publication2012
JournalConservation Letters
Journal citation5, pp. 459-469
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1755-263X.2012.00262.x
Open accessPublished as green open access
FunderDepartment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Funder project or codeBD1466
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online06 Jun 2012
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Jun 2012
PublisherWiley
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN1755-263X

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