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Data from: A multi-taxa assessment of the effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes for biodiversity management

Citation

Boetzl, Fabian A. et al. (2021), Data from: A multi-taxa assessment of the effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes for biodiversity management, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hdr7sqvh1

Abstract

Agri-environmental schemes (AES) aim to restore biodiversity and biodiversity-mediated ecosystem services in landscapes impoverished by modern agriculture. However, a systematic, empirical evaluation of different AES types across multiple taxa and functional groups is missing. Within one orthogonal design, we studied sown flowering AES types with different temporal continuity, size, and landscape context and used calcareous grasslands as semi-natural reference habitat. We measured species richness of twelve taxonomic groups (vascular plants, cicadas, orthopterans, bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies, flower visiting beetles, parasitoid wasps, carabid beetles, staphylinid beetles and birds) representing five trophic levels. A total of 54,955 specimens were identified using traditional taxonomic methods and bulk arthropod samples were identified through DNA metabarcoding, resulting in a total of 1077 and 2110 taxa, respectively. Species richness of most taxonomic groups as well as multidiversity and richness of pollinators increased with temporal continuity of AES types. Some groups responded to size and landscape context but multidiversity and richness of pollinators and natural enemies were not affected. AES flowering fields supported different species assemblages than calcareous grasslands, but assemblages became more similar to those in semi-natural grasslands with increasing temporal continuity. Our results indicate that AES flowering fields and semi-natural grasslands function synergistically. Flowering fields support biodiversity even when they are relatively small and in landscapes with few remaining semi-natural habitats. We, therefore, recommend a network of smaller, temporally continuous AES flowering fields of different ages combined with permanent semi-natural grasslands to maximize benefits for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service delivery in agricultural landscapes.