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Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within‐field plant diversity

Audrey Alignier 1, * Xavier Solé‐senan 2 Irene Robleño 2 Bàrbara Baraibar 2, 3 Lenore Fahrig 4, 5 David Giralt 6 Nicolas Gross 7, 8 Jean-Louis Martin 9 Jordi Recasens 2 Clélia Sirami 10 Gavin Siriwardena 11 Aliette Bosem Baillod 12, 13 Colette Bertrand 1, 14 Romain Carrié 10 Annika Hass 12 Laura Henckel 7, 15 Paul Miguet 7, 15 Isabelle Badenhausser 7, 16 Jacques Baudry 1 Gerard Bota 17 Vincent Bretagnolle 7, 15 Lluís Brotons 18, 19, 20 Françoise Burel 14 François Calatayud 10 Yann Clough 21, 12 Romain Georges 14 Annick Gibon 10 Jude Girard 22 Kathryn Lindsay 22 Jesus Minano 19 Scott Mitchell 22 Nathalie Patry 23 Brigitte Poulin 23 Teja Tscharntke 24 Aude Vialatte 10 Cyrille Violle 9 Nicole Yaverscovski 23 Peter Batary 25
Abstract : Increasing landscape heterogeneity by restoring semi-natural elements to reverse farmland biodiversity declines is not always economically feasible or acceptable to farmers due to competition for land. We hypothesized that increasing the heterogeneity of the crop mosaic itself, hereafter referred to as crop heterogeneity, can have beneficial effects on within-field plant diversity. Using a unique multi-country dataset from a cross-continent collaborative project covering 1,451 agricultural fields within 432 landscapes in Europe and Canada, we assessed the relative effects of compositional and configurational crop heterogeneity on within-field plant diversity components. We also examined how these relationships were modulated by the position within the field. We found strong positive effects of configurational crop heterogeneity on within-field plant alpha and gamma diversity in field interiors. These effects were as high as the effect of semi-natural cover. In field borders, effects of crop heterogeneity were limited to alpha diversity. We suggest that a heterogeneous crop mosaic may overcome the high negative impact of management practices on plant diversity in field interiors, whereas in field borders, where plant diversity is already high, landscape effects are more limited. Synthesis and applications. Our study shows that increasing configurational crop heterogeneity is beneficial to within-field plant diversity. It opens up a new effective and complementary way to promote farmland biodiversity without taking land out of agricultural production. We therefore recommend adopting manipulation of crop heterogeneity as a specific, effective management option in future policy measures, perhaps adding to agri-environment schemes, to contribute to the conservation of farmland plant diversity.
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Audrey Alignier, Xavier Solé‐senan, Irene Robleño, Bàrbara Baraibar, Lenore Fahrig, et al.. Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within‐field plant diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology, Wiley, 2020, 57 (4), pp.654-663. ⟨10.1111/1365-2664.13585⟩. ⟨hal-02518943⟩



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