Landscape simplification filters species traits and drives biotic homogenization

Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 20;6:8568. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9568.


Biodiversity loss can affect the viability of ecosystems by decreasing the ability of communities to respond to environmental change and disturbances. Agricultural intensification is a major driver of biodiversity loss and has multiple components operating at different spatial scales: from in-field management intensity to landscape-scale simplification. Here we show that landscape-level effects dominate functional community composition and can even buffer the effects of in-field management intensification on functional homogenization, and that animal communities in real-world managed landscapes show a unified response (across orders and guilds) to both landscape-scale simplification and in-field intensification. Adults and larvae with specialized feeding habits, species with shorter activity periods and relatively small body sizes are selected against in simplified landscapes with intense in-field management. Our results demonstrate that the diversity of land cover types at the landscape scale is critical for maintaining communities, which are functionally diverse, even in landscapes where in-field management intensity is high.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Animals
  • Arachnida
  • Bees
  • Biodiversity
  • Biota*
  • Coleoptera
  • Diptera
  • Ecosystem
  • Germany
  • Grassland*
  • Hemiptera
  • Heteroptera
  • Larva
  • Lepidoptera