The connectedness of ecological compensation areas (ECAs) is considered as one of the most important measures to enhance biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, but only few empirical studies exist. We compared the species diversity of land snails and grasshoppers on connected ECA meadows and on isolated ECA meadows. The investigated ECA meadows were sown on arable land four to six years ago. The connected ECA meadows were located adjacent to species rich and extensively managed meadows whereas the isolated ECA meadows were surrounded by isolation habitat, such as intensively used grassland, forest or settlements, within a perimeter of 100 meters. We found significantly more species of land snails on connected than on isolated ECA meadows, but there was no difference between the two meadow types for the species richness of grasshoppers. Analyses of individual species showed that individual species of both groups benefit from connectedness of ECA meadows. We therefore conclude that for both species groups it is important to connect ECA meadows with existing, species rich meadows and we recommend considering the spatial arrangement of the meadows when establishing new ECAs.
Bender S.F., Schulz S., Martínez-Cuesta R., Laughlin R.J., Kublik S., Pfeiffer-Zakharova K., Vestergaard G., Hartman K., Parladé E., Römbke J., Watson C.J., Schloter M., van der Heijden M.G.A.
Gilgen A., Felder R., Baumgartner S., Herzog F., Jeanneret P., Séchaud R., Paunovic S., Merbold L.