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Assessing the effect of the time since transition to organic farming on plants and butterflies

Jonason, Dennis; Andersson, Georg LU ; Ockinger, Erik; Rundlöf, Maj LU ; Smith, Henrik LU and Bengtsson, Jan (2011) In Journal of Applied Ecology 48(3). p.543-550
Abstract
P>1. Environmental changes may not always result in rapid changes in species distributions, abundances or diversity. In order to estimate the effects of, for example, land-use changes caused by agri-environment schemes (AES) on biodiversity and ecosystem services, information on the time-lag between the application of the scheme and the responses of organisms is essential. 2. We examined the effects of time since transition (TST) to organic farming on plant species richness and butterfly species richness and abundance. Surveys were conducted in cereal fields and adjacent field margins on 60 farms, 20 conventional and 40 organic, in two regions in Sweden. The organic farms were transferred from conventional management between 1 and 25... (More)
P>1. Environmental changes may not always result in rapid changes in species distributions, abundances or diversity. In order to estimate the effects of, for example, land-use changes caused by agri-environment schemes (AES) on biodiversity and ecosystem services, information on the time-lag between the application of the scheme and the responses of organisms is essential. 2. We examined the effects of time since transition (TST) to organic farming on plant species richness and butterfly species richness and abundance. Surveys were conducted in cereal fields and adjacent field margins on 60 farms, 20 conventional and 40 organic, in two regions in Sweden. The organic farms were transferred from conventional management between 1 and 25 years before the survey took place. The farms were selected along a gradient of landscape complexity, indicated by the proportion of arable land, so that farms with similar TST were represented in all landscape types. Organism responses were assessed using model averaging. 3. Plant and butterfly species richness was c. 20% higher on organic farms and butterfly abundance was about 60% higher, compared with conventional farms. Time since transition affected butterfly abundance gradually over the 25-year period, resulting in a 100% increase. In contrast, no TST effect on plant or butterfly species richness was found, indicating that the main effect took place immediately after the transition to organic farming. 4. Increasing landscape complexity had a positive effect on butterfly species richness, but not on butterfly abundance or plant species richness. There was no indication that the speed of response to organic farming was affected by landscape complexity. 5. Synthesis and applications. The effect of organic farming on diversity was rapid for plant and butterfly species richness, whereas butterfly abundance increased gradually with time since transition. If time-lags in responses to AESs turn out to be common, long-term effects would need to be included in management recommendations and policy to capture the full potential of such schemes. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
agri-environment scheme, farming system, farmland biodiversity, Lepidoptera, time since transition
in
Journal of Applied Ecology
volume
48
issue
3
pages
543 - 550
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000290587100006
  • scopus:79955972812
ISSN
1365-2664
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.01989.x
project
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
dd8114f2-29ef-4ed5-94d9-5b0cda496bd0 (old id 1986325)
date added to LUP
2011-06-29 12:15:56
date last changed
2017-09-24 03:11:18
@article{dd8114f2-29ef-4ed5-94d9-5b0cda496bd0,
  abstract     = {P>1. Environmental changes may not always result in rapid changes in species distributions, abundances or diversity. In order to estimate the effects of, for example, land-use changes caused by agri-environment schemes (AES) on biodiversity and ecosystem services, information on the time-lag between the application of the scheme and the responses of organisms is essential. 2. We examined the effects of time since transition (TST) to organic farming on plant species richness and butterfly species richness and abundance. Surveys were conducted in cereal fields and adjacent field margins on 60 farms, 20 conventional and 40 organic, in two regions in Sweden. The organic farms were transferred from conventional management between 1 and 25 years before the survey took place. The farms were selected along a gradient of landscape complexity, indicated by the proportion of arable land, so that farms with similar TST were represented in all landscape types. Organism responses were assessed using model averaging. 3. Plant and butterfly species richness was c. 20% higher on organic farms and butterfly abundance was about 60% higher, compared with conventional farms. Time since transition affected butterfly abundance gradually over the 25-year period, resulting in a 100% increase. In contrast, no TST effect on plant or butterfly species richness was found, indicating that the main effect took place immediately after the transition to organic farming. 4. Increasing landscape complexity had a positive effect on butterfly species richness, but not on butterfly abundance or plant species richness. There was no indication that the speed of response to organic farming was affected by landscape complexity. 5. Synthesis and applications. The effect of organic farming on diversity was rapid for plant and butterfly species richness, whereas butterfly abundance increased gradually with time since transition. If time-lags in responses to AESs turn out to be common, long-term effects would need to be included in management recommendations and policy to capture the full potential of such schemes.},
  author       = {Jonason, Dennis and Andersson, Georg and Ockinger, Erik and Rundlöf, Maj and Smith, Henrik and Bengtsson, Jan},
  issn         = {1365-2664},
  keyword      = {agri-environment scheme,farming system,farmland biodiversity,Lepidoptera,time since transition},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {543--550},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Applied Ecology},
  title        = {Assessing the effect of the time since transition to organic farming on plants and butterflies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.01989.x},
  volume       = {48},
  year         = {2011},
}