Menu

Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Assessing the effect of the time since transition to organic farming on plants and butterflies

Author:
  • Dennis Jonason
  • Georg Andersson
  • Erik Ockinger
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Henrik Smith
  • Jan Bengtsson
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 543-550
Publication/Series: Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume: 48
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

P>1. Environmental changes may not always result in rapid changes in species distributions, abundances or diversity. In order to estimate the effects of, for example, land-use changes caused by agri-environment schemes (AES) on biodiversity and ecosystem services, information on the time-lag between the application of the scheme and the responses of organisms is essential. 2. We examined the effects of time since transition (TST) to organic farming on plant species richness and butterfly species richness and abundance. Surveys were conducted in cereal fields and adjacent field margins on 60 farms, 20 conventional and 40 organic, in two regions in Sweden. The organic farms were transferred from conventional management between 1 and 25 years before the survey took place. The farms were selected along a gradient of landscape complexity, indicated by the proportion of arable land, so that farms with similar TST were represented in all landscape types. Organism responses were assessed using model averaging. 3. Plant and butterfly species richness was c. 20% higher on organic farms and butterfly abundance was about 60% higher, compared with conventional farms. Time since transition affected butterfly abundance gradually over the 25-year period, resulting in a 100% increase. In contrast, no TST effect on plant or butterfly species richness was found, indicating that the main effect took place immediately after the transition to organic farming. 4. Increasing landscape complexity had a positive effect on butterfly species richness, but not on butterfly abundance or plant species richness. There was no indication that the speed of response to organic farming was affected by landscape complexity. 5. Synthesis and applications. The effect of organic farming on diversity was rapid for plant and butterfly species richness, whereas butterfly abundance increased gradually with time since transition. If time-lags in responses to AESs turn out to be common, long-term effects would need to be included in management recommendations and policy to capture the full potential of such schemes.

Keywords

  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
  • Ecology
  • agri-environment scheme
  • farming system
  • farmland biodiversity
  • Lepidoptera
  • time since transition

Other

Published
  • BECC
  • ISSN: 1365-2664
Henrik Smith
E-mail: henrik.smith [at] biol.lu.se

Professor

Biodiversity

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56

E-C313

50

Director

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC)

+46 46 222 93 79

+46 70 978 20 56

C313

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden