Grassland management intensification weakens the associations among the diversities of multiple plant and animal taxa

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Pete Manning
  • Martin M. Gossner
  • Oliver Bossdorf
  • Eric Allan
  • Yuan Ye Zhang
  • Daniel Prati
  • Nico Blüthgen
  • Steffen Boch
  • Stefan Böhm
  • Carmen Börschig
  • Norbert Hölzel
  • Kirsten Jung
  • Valentin H. Klaus
  • Till Kleinebecker
  • Jochen Krauss
  • Markus Lange
  • Jörg Müller
  • Esther PAŠALIć
  • Stephanie A. Socher
  • Marco Tschapka
  • Manfred Türke
  • Christiane Weiner
  • Michael Werner
  • Sonja Gockel
  • Andreas Hemp
  • Swen C. Renner
  • Konstans Wells
  • François Buscot
  • Elisabeth K.V. Kalko
  • Karl Eduard Linsenmair
  • Wolfgang W. Weisser
  • Markus Fischer

Land-use intensification is a key driver of biodiversity change. However, little is known about how italters relationships between the diversities of different tax on omicgroups, which are often correlated due to shared environmental drivers and trophic interactions.Using data from 150 grassland sites, we examined how land-use intensification (increased fertilization, higher livestock densities, and increased mowing frequency) altered correlations between the species richness of 15 plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate taxa. We found that 54%of pairwise correlations between taxonomic groups were significant and positive among all grasslands, while only one was negative. Higher land-use intensity substantially weakened these correlations (35% decrease in rand 43% fewer significantpair wise correlations at high intensity), apattern which may emerge as a result of biodiversity declines and the breakdown of specialized relationships in these conditions. Nevertheless, some groups (Coleoptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera and Orthoptera) were consistently correlated with multidiversity, an aggregate measure of total biodiversity comprised of the standardized diversities of multiple taxa, at both high and lowland-use intensity. The form of intensification was also important; increased fertilization and mowing frequency typically weakened plant-plantand plant-primary consumer correlations, whereas grazingintensification didnot. This may reflect decreased habitat heterogeneity under mowing and fertilization and increased habitat heterogeneity under grazing.While these results urge caution in using certain taxonomic groups to monitor impacts of agricultural management on biodiversity, they also suggest that the diversities of some groups are reasonably robust indicators of total biodiversity across a range of conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1492-1501
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2015

    Research areas

  • Biodiversity indicators, Correlation, Fertilization, Grassland management, Grazing, Land-use change, Land-use intensity, Mowing, Multidiversity, Multitrophic interactions
  • Ecosystems Research