Biological control services of agroecosystems depend on the functional diversity of species traits. However, the relationship between arthropod traits and landscape heterogeneity is still poorly understood, especially in tropical rice agroecosystems which harbour a high diversity of often specialized species. We investigated how landscape heterogeneity, measured by three metrics of landscape composition and configuration, influenced body size, functional group composition, dispersal ability and vertical distribution of rice-arthropods in the Philippines.
We found that landscape composition and configuration acted to filter arthropod traits in tropical rice agroecosystems. Landscape diversity and rice habitat fragmentation were the two main gradients influencing rice-arthropod traits, indicating that different rice-arthropods have distinct habitat requirements. Whereas small parasitoids and species mostly present in the rice-canopy were favoured in landscapes with high compositional heterogeneity, predators and medium-sized species occupying the base of the rice plant, including planthoppers, mostly occurred in highly fragmented rice habitats. We demonstrate the importance of landscape heterogeneity as an ecological filter for rice-arthropods, identifying how the different components of landscape heterogeneity selected for or against specific functional traits. However, the contrasting effects of landscape parameters on different groups of natural enemies indicate that not all beneficial rice-arthropods can be promoted at the same time when using a single land management strategy. Increasing compositional heterogeneity in rice landscapes can promote parasitoids but may also negatively affect predators. Future research should focus on identifying trade-offs between fragmented rice habitats and structurally diverse landscapes to maximize the presence of multiple groups of beneficial arthropods.
Data were collected in three regions of the Philippines and contain an environmental table (Table R), a species abundance table (Table L), and a species traits table (Table Q). Metadata is provided within the excel file.
The coordinates and locations of the study sites in each region are provided via a .kmz file.