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Insect community composition and functional roles along a tropical agricultural production gradient

Sanderson Bellamy, Angelina, Svensson, Ola, van den Brink, Paul J., Gunnarsson, Jonas and Tedengren, Michael 2018. Insect community composition and functional roles along a tropical agricultural production gradient. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 10.1007/s11356-018-1818-4

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High intensity agricultural production systems are problematic not only for human health and the surrounding environment, but can threaten the provision of ecosystem services on which farm productivity depends. This research investigates the effects of management practices in Costa Rica on on-farm insect diversity, using three different types of banana farm management systems: high-input conventional system, low-input conventional system and organic system. Insect sampling was done using pitfall and yellow bowl traps, left for a 24- hour period at 2 locations inside the banana farm, at the edge of the farm, and in adjacent forest. All 39091 individual insects were classified to family level and then morphospecies. Insect species community composition and diversity were compared using multivariate statistics with ordination analysis and Monte Carlo permutation testing, and revealed that each of the management systems were significantly different from each other for both trap types. Insect diversity decreased as management intensity increased. Reduced insect diversity resulted in fewer functional groups and fewer insect families assuming different functions essential to ecosystem health. Organic farms had similar species composition on the farm compared to adjacent forest sites, whereas species composition increasingly differed between farm and forest sites as management intensity increased. We conclude that while organic production has minimal impact on insect biodiversity, even small reductions in management intensity can have a significantly positive impact on on-farm insect biodiversity and functional roles supported.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0944-1344
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 17 March 2018
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 01:49

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