Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Ecological compensatory areas in the mosaic of agricultural landscape

In three case studies, the spectrum of plant species was evaluated in ecological compensatory areas (extensively and less intensively cultivated meadows, flower strips, hedgerows), in the dominant cultures (winter wheat, intensively cultivated meadows, meadows in orchards) and in the edges of the forests. Habitat specificity, calculated on the base of plant composition in different types of biotopes, allows to assess the proportion of each spatial element. The edges of the forests and the vegetation of their herbaceous margins mainly contribute to habitat specificity in all three regions. In the regions of intensively cultivated grassland or of arable crops, little specificity was found in the typical biotopes (intensively managed meadows and meadows in orchards, fields of winter wheat, respectively), although these biotopes occupy the largest areas. In the region with arable farming, plant diversity in flower strips contribute to high specificity. In the region with mixed cultivation, habitat specificity is more balanced among the differentially cultivated areas. In less intensively cultivated compensatory areas (extensively and less intensively cultivated meadows) higher specificity was observed than in intensively cultivated meadows.

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