Invertebrate herbivory decreases along a gradient of increasing land-use intensity in German grasslands

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Abstract

Land use is a major driver of biodiversity loss in many taxa including species-rich invertebrate assemblages, but consequences for invertebrate-mediated processes are still little studied. We assessed invertebrate herbivory in 146 managed temperate grasslands across a broad range of land-use intensities in three regions of Germany. Average herbivory decreased with increasing land-use intensity independent of region from 1.3 to 0.4% leaf area assessed. Among grassland land-use practices, the frequency of mowing and the degree of fertilization decreased herbivory while the intensity of vertebrate grazing had no significant effect on invertebrate herbivory. Thus, grassland management not only affects the diversity and abundance of invertebrate assemblages but also the amount of leaf tissue consumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-352
Number of pages6
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • Ecosystem process
  • Fertilization
  • Grassland management
  • Grazing
  • Insects
  • Mowing

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