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Data from: Ecosystem multifunctionality is promoted by organic farming and hedgerows at the local scale but not at the landscape scale

Cite this dataset

Alignier, Audrey; Eloïse, Couthouis; Stéphanie, Aviron; Pétillon, Julien (2022). Data from: Ecosystem multifunctionality is promoted by organic farming and hedgerows at the local scale but not at the landscape scale [Dataset]. Dryad.


This dataset gathers information used for the paper Couthouis et al. "Ecosystem multifunctionality is promoted by organic farming and hedgerows at the local scale but not at the landscape scale", part of the BIOMHE project (2019-2022) funded by the Fondation de France. It contains data about (i) species richness and abundances used for calculating ecological performance, (ii) crop yield used for calculating agronomic performance, (iii) labour and semi-net margin used for calculating socio-economic performance. Combined, these information allows for the calculation of ecosystem multifunctionaliy indices.


We selected 40 winter cereal fields (20 fields under organic farming - OF and 20 under conventional farming - CF), distributed along two independent landscape gradients based on (i) the varying extent (%) of OF  and (ii) the varying density (length) of hedgerows, in the Zone Atelier Armorique, northwestern France. Cereal fields were under monoculture of winter cereals such as wheat (Triticum spp.), triticale (Triticosecale spp.) or oat (Avena sativa L.), hereafter referred to as ‘Cereal crops’ (10 OF and 20 CF fields), or winter cereals intercropped with legumes, namely faba bean (Vicia faba L.) or pea (Pisum sativum L.), without distinct row arrangement, hereafter referred to as ‘Mixed crops’ (10 OF fields).

Predatory arthropods (carabids; Coleoptera: Carabidae), spiders (Araneae), staphylinids (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae), ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and insect pests (aphids; Hemiptera: Aphidoidea) were collected twice, in May and June 2020, using a vacuum method (D-vac), with a series of five aspirations performed at 10-m intervals along a 50 m-long transect located in each habitat (hedgerow and centre of the field).The D-vac aspirations were carried out through the vegetation and on the ground in order to capture the arthropods present on these two strata. Data from the series of aspirations (N = 5) and the sampling periods (N = 2) were pooled to obtain estimates of the total abundance of predatory arthropods and aphids per habitat type (hedgerow or crop field). Carabid beetles were identified at the species level following Roger et al. (2010). Visual counts of flower-visiting insects were performed three times in May, June and July 2020, by walking along 50 m-long transects (one per habitat) at a slow pace for 5 min. Flower-visiting insects were assigned to one of the following morpho-groups: honeybees, bumblebees (Bombus lapidarius, B. pasucorum, B. terrestris), solitary bees (< 1 cm and > 1 cm), hoverflies, butterflies, other Diptera, other Coleoptera, other Hymenoptera. Data were pooled over the three sampling periods to determine the abundance of flower-visiting insects per habitat. Single surveys of spontaneous vegetation were conducted in 10 quadrats (1 × 1 m) placed at 5 m intervals along each 50 m-long transect. Plant species were identified according to Flora Europaea (Tutin et al., 1993) and corresponding percentage cover was estimated visually. We distinguished troublesome weeds (i.e. species that potentially cause high yield losses or hinder harvesting operations) based on expert knowledge from personnel at the Chamber of Agriculture of Brittany, France). Species richness and abundances are gathered in the "DATA_habitat" sheet.

We conducted interviews with farmers (OF fields = 16 farmers; CF fields = 17 farmers) to obtain data on soil preparation practices (from harvest of the preceding crop [n – 1] to sowing of the next crop [n + 1]), pest management (mechanical or chemical weeding, fungicide, insecticide and molluscicide use), fertilisation (mineral or organic), and harvested products (yield). The labour proxy (h.ha-1) corresponded to the cumulative duration of interventions in sampled fields, while the semi-net margin (€.ha-1) was calculated by subtracting operational expenses (seeds and inputs) and equipment (depreciation, maintenance and gasoline) from the market price of crops. The semi-net margin closely approximates the actual income of farmers. Crop yield, labour and semi-net margin are gathered in the "DATA_habitat" sheet.

Land-cover maps of the landscape sites were digitised using aerial ortho-photographs (BD ORTHO IGN, 2017) and field surveys using Arcgis 10.8.1 (Environmental Systems Resource Institute; ESRI, 2020) in 1000 m radius circles centred on each sampled field. In addition, maps of faming systems (OF vs. CF) were created based on existing data obtained for the same study area (Puech et al., 2015) and updated based on information obtained from our interviews with farmers in the present study.  From these maps, we calculated two metrics for landscape composition (the percentage cover of SNH [% SNH including woodlands, permanent grasslands, hedgerows and fallows] and the percentage cover of OF [% OF]); and one metric for landscape configuration: (hedgerow density [total hedgerow length). All metrics were calculated in 250 m, 500 m and 1000 m radius circles using Chloe software (Boussard et al., 2020). Landscape metrics are gathered in the "DATA_landscape" sheet.

Usage notes

The dataset is composed of two sheets (.csv), (i) "DATA_habitat" gathering information for each crop field (N=40) and hedgerow (N=40), (ii) "DATA_landscape" gathering information for each landscape (N =40).


Fondation de France