Interannual variation in land-use intensity enhances grassland multidiversity

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Eric Allan
  • Oliver Bossdorf
  • Carsten F. Dormann
  • Daniel Prati
  • Martin M. Gossner
  • Teja Tscharntke
  • Nico Blüthgen
  • Michaela Bellach
  • Klaus Birkhofer
  • Steffen Boch
  • Stefan Böhm
  • Carmen Börschig
  • Antonis Chatzinotas
  • Sabina Christ
  • Rolf Daniel
  • Tim Diekötter
  • Christiane Fischer
  • Thomas Friedl
  • Karin Glaser
  • Christine Hallmann
  • Ladislav Hodac
  • Norbert Hölzel
  • Kirsten Jung
  • Valentin H. Klaus
  • Till Kleinebecker
  • Jochen Krauss
  • Markus Lange
  • E. Kathryn Morris
  • Jörg Müller
  • Heiko Nacke
  • Esther Pašalić
  • Matthias C. Rillig
  • Christoph Rothenwöhrer
  • Peter Schall
  • Christoph Scherber
  • Waltraud Schulze
  • Stephanie A. Socher
  • Juliane Steckel
  • Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
  • Manfred Türke
  • Christiane N. Weiner
  • Michael Werner
  • Catrin Westphal
  • Volkmar Wolters
  • Tesfaye Wubet
  • Sonja Gockel
  • Martin Gorke
  • Andreas Hemp
  • Swen C. Renner
  • Ingo Schöning
  • Simone Pfeiffer
  • Birgitta König-Ries
  • François Buscot
  • Karl Eduard Linsenmair
  • Ernst Detlef Schulze
  • Wolfgang W. Weisser
  • Markus Fischer

Although temporal heterogeneity is a well-accepted driver of biodiversity, effects of interannual variation in land-use intensity (LUI) have not been addressed yet. Additionally, responses to land use can differ greatly among different organisms; therefore, overall effects of land-use on total local biodiversity are hardly known. To test for effects of LUI (quantified as the combined intensity of fertilization, grazing, and mowing) and interannual variation in LUI (SD in LUI across time), we introduce a unique measure of whole-ecosystem biodiversity, multidiversity. This synthesizes individual diversity measures across up to 49 taxonomic groups of plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria from 150 grasslands. Multidiversity declined with increasing LUI among grasslands, particularly for rarer species and aboveground organisms, whereas common species and belowground groups were less sensitive. However, a high level of interannual variation in LUI increased overall multidiversity at low LUI and was even more beneficial for rarer species because it slowed the rate at which the multidiversity of rare species declined with increasing LUI. In more intensively managed grasslands, the diversity of rarer species was, on average, 18% of the maximum diversity across all grasslands when LUI was static over time but increased to 31% of the maximum when LUI changed maximally over time. In addition to decreasing overall LUI, we suggest varying LUI across years as a complementary strategy to promote biodiversity conservation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 07.01.2014