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Exploring the causes of high biodiversity of Iberian dehesas: the importance of wood pastures and marginal habitats

AutorMoreno, G.; González-Bornay, G.; Pulido, F.; López-Díaz, M.L.; Betomeu, M.; Juárez, E.; Díaz Esteban, Mario
Palabras claveEarthworms
Scattered trees
Species accumulation curves
Bees Spiders
Shared species
Wood pastures
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2016
CitaciónAgroforestry Systems 90(1): 87-105 (2016)
ResumenIn extensive low input farming and in agroforestry systems, the importance for biodiversity of managed productive fields with respect to unmanaged marginal habitats that occupy a low proportion of farm surface, is still poorly understood, contrasting with the well-known key importance of marginal habitats in intensive systems. We analyzed the importance of open and wood pastures and marginal habitats for species richness of Iberian dehesas in Central-Western Spain. We sampled 155 plots classified into 9 general habitat categories: wood pastures (n = 41 plots); open pastures dominated by annual plants (n = 11), by perennial plants (n = 15) and co-dominated by annuals and perennial plants (n = 16); shrublands (n = 19); agricultural crops (n = 12); herbaceous strips (n = 10); woody strips (n = 11); and water bodies (n = 10). In each plot we measured the abundance and species richness of four taxonomic groups: vascular plants, bees, spiders, and earthworms. We detected 431 plant species (37 ± 2.5 CI95 in 100 m2 on average), 60 bee species (3.1 ± 1.1 in 600 m2), 128 spider species (7.4 ± 1.2 in 1.5 m2) and 18 earthworm species (2.5 ± 1.0 in 0.27 m2) in 145 sampling plots. Wood pastures supported fewer species of spiders and earthworms at the plot level, but more plants and earthworm species at the landscape level than open pastures. The low proportion of shared species among habitats and among plots within each habitat type, and the high proportion of species found in unique plots or habitats indicated that every habitat contributes to farm biodiversity. Overall, our extensive survey confirms the hypothesis that the high diversity of dehesas depends on the coexistence within farms of a wide mosaic of habitats, including marginal habitats, which seemed to harbor a disproportionately high number of species as compared to their small extent. Results support policy measures for the maintenance of farm keystone structures such as linear features, small wood/shrub patches and ponds, and reveal that these measures should not be exclusively applied to more intensive farming systems.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1007/s10457-015-9817-7
issn: 0167-4366
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