Bosco, L., H. Y. Wan, S. A. Cushman, R. Arlettaz & A. Jacot (2019)

Separating the effects of habitat amount and fragmentation on invertebrate abundance using a multi-scale framework.

Further information

Landsc. Ecol. 34: 105–117.




Context: Herbicide treatments in viticulture can generate highly contrasting mosaics of vegetated and bare vineyards, of which vegetated fields often provide better conditions for biodiversity. In southern Switzerland, where herbicides are applied at large scales, vegetated vineyards are limited in extent and isolated from one another, potentially limiting the distribution and dispersal ability of organisms. Objectives We tested the separate and interactive effects of habitat amount and fragmentation on invertebrate abundance using a multi-scale framework, along with additional environmental factors. We identified which variables at which scales were most important in predicting patterns of invertebrate abundance.
Methods: We used a factorial design to sample across a gradient of habitat amount (area of vegetated vineyards, measured as percentage of landscape PLAND) and fragmentation (number of vegetated patches, measured as patch density PD). Using 10 different spatial scales, we identified the factors and scales that most strongly predicted invertebrate abundance and tested potential interactions between habitat amount and fragmentation.
Results: Habitat amount (PLAND index) was mostimportant in predicting invertebrate numbers at a field scale (50 m radius). In contrast, we found a negative effect of fragmentation (PD) at a broad scale of 450 m radius, but no interactive effect between the two.
Conclusions: The spatial scales at which habitat amount and fragmentation affect invertebrates differ, underpinning the importance of spatially explicit study designs in disentangling the effects between habitat amount and configuration. We showed that the amount of vegetated vineyards has more influence on invertebrate abundance, but that fragmentation also contributed substantially. This suggests that efforts for augmenting the area of vegetated vineyards is more beneficial for invertebrate numbers than attempts to connect them.