Landscape effects on butterfly assemblages in an agricultural region

Landscape effects on butterfly assemblages in an agricultural region We examined the butterfly fauna at 62 sites in southeastern Sweden within a region exhibiting high variation in the landscape surrounding the studied grasslands. The landscape varied from an intensively‐managed agricultural landscape with a large amount of open fields to a landscape with a high amount of deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland. We made 12 179 observations of 57 species of butterflies. The amount of neighbouring deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland, with >25% tree and bush cover, was the most important environmental factor explaining the variation in the butterfly assemblages. Landscape analyses at three different spatial scales showed that the variation in butterfly assemblages could be explained only at the largest scale (radius 5000 m) and not at the smaller ones (radii 500 and 2000 m). Logistic regressions were used to predict presence/absence of butterfly species. Our study indicated that there may be critical thresholds for the amount of habitat at the landscape scale for several butterfly species as well as for species richness. For Melitaea athalia, there was a sharp increase in occupancy probability between 3 and 10% deciduous forests/semi‐natural grasslands at the 5000‐m scale. For 12 other species, the value for 50% probability of occurrence varied between 2 and 12% deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland. Species which had high occupancy probabilities in landscapes with a low amount of surrounding deciduous forests/semi‐natural grasslands were significantly more mobile than others. Our study highlights the importance of applying a landscape perspective in conservation management, and that single‐patch management might fail in maintaining a diverse butterfly assemblage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecography Wiley

Landscape effects on butterfly assemblages in an agricultural region

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0906-7590
eISSN
1600-0587
DOI
10.1111/j.0906-7590.2004.03906.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We examined the butterfly fauna at 62 sites in southeastern Sweden within a region exhibiting high variation in the landscape surrounding the studied grasslands. The landscape varied from an intensively‐managed agricultural landscape with a large amount of open fields to a landscape with a high amount of deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland. We made 12 179 observations of 57 species of butterflies. The amount of neighbouring deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland, with >25% tree and bush cover, was the most important environmental factor explaining the variation in the butterfly assemblages. Landscape analyses at three different spatial scales showed that the variation in butterfly assemblages could be explained only at the largest scale (radius 5000 m) and not at the smaller ones (radii 500 and 2000 m). Logistic regressions were used to predict presence/absence of butterfly species. Our study indicated that there may be critical thresholds for the amount of habitat at the landscape scale for several butterfly species as well as for species richness. For Melitaea athalia, there was a sharp increase in occupancy probability between 3 and 10% deciduous forests/semi‐natural grasslands at the 5000‐m scale. For 12 other species, the value for 50% probability of occurrence varied between 2 and 12% deciduous forest/semi‐natural grassland. Species which had high occupancy probabilities in landscapes with a low amount of surrounding deciduous forests/semi‐natural grasslands were significantly more mobile than others. Our study highlights the importance of applying a landscape perspective in conservation management, and that single‐patch management might fail in maintaining a diverse butterfly assemblage.

Journal

EcographyWiley

Published: Oct 1, 2004

References

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